Clairette is a white grape with a long history and is widely grown in various wine regions, particularly in France and other Mediterranean countries. It is known for producing wines with diverse styles, from dry to sweet and sparkling to still.
The variety is believed to have originated in the Rhône Valley, with historical references dating back to the 16th century. Nowadays, it is grown in several other Mediterranean regions, including Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Southern Rhône, and certain areas in Spain, Italy, and Algeria.
Clairette is a vigorous and high-yielding vine, making it relatively easy to grow in the vineyard. It prefers warm and sunny climates, which need plenty of sunlight to ripen fully. The grape clusters are medium-sized and compact.
The wines can vary in style, depending on the region and winemaking techniques. In some areas, it is used in blends to add acidity and structure, while in others, it can be the dominant grape in varietal wines.
The dry white wines typically exhibit delicate aromas of white flowers, citrus fruits, and sometimes hints of herbs. In certain regions, the variety is used to make sweet wines, either as a late-harvest style or as a component in fortified wines, such as the famous Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. Clairette is also used to produce sparkling wines, adding freshness and acidity to the blends.