Clairette is a light-coloured grape variety that grows throughout southern France. It was once widespread, but changing tastes and fashions since the 18th and 19th centuries have seen this grape replaced. The grape has been replaced with higher-quality varieties.
The grape is not particularly forgiving to winemakers. Which is one of the main reasons for its decline in the 20th Century. Its tendency to oxidise quickly was once used to make maderised table wines and Vermouth. However, a move away from this style of winemaking has seen this trait become a drawback in recent years.
Clairette also has low acidity and high alcohol, neither of which is particularly suited to modern palates.
Light and Fresh
Happily, growers and vintners are able to counter these effects through early harvesting and careful vinification. When made well, varietal Clairette wines are light and fresh with flavours of apple, citrus and stonefruit.