Pinot Auxerrois Grape Variety

Pinot Auxerrois (as it is known in Alsace) is a very interesting grape for making fresh, low acid, interesting wines. Although Riesling is more widely planted, the area devoted to Auxerrois is increasing every year as can be seen by the graph below.

One of the most interesting things about this grape variety is that it is a sibling of Chardonnay but, in some ways, is more interesting than its more famous family member. Both share parentage from Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc and it is thought to have originated somewhere in the North-East corner of France, namely either Lorraine or Alsace.

However, despite Auxerrois having many proponents in the area, it is not permitted in the Grand Cru wines or the famous sweet wines of Alsace. This is a pity because the wines from our wonderful supplier in Alsace, Geschickt really benefit from the contribution made by this grape.

As can be seen from the graph below a reasonable amount is grown in France (all in Alsace) reaching a peak of just under 2,500 hectares in 2008 and the area devoted to it is still increasing.

Auxerrois: Hectares planted by year

The vine leaves have almost the clearly defined lobes displayed for many grape varieties as shown in the photo below. They have three lobes but are not as serrated as, say, the Ploussard leaves from the Jura display.

Photo courtesy of Vitis International Variety Catalogue

The large greenish grapes are clustered into loose bunches that aid air circulation, which helps reduce disease pressure.

Photo courtesy of Vitis International Variety Catalogue

A good example of a wine that includes this interesting grape comes from one of our producers in the Alsace, Geschickt. They produce a wonderful wine called Pino which is a blend of Pinot Gris (some of which comes from the Grand Cru Kaefferkopf vineyard) and Pinot Auxerrois.