Chapter 9.1.1. General View on White Grapes Varieties


Aidini (also spelled Aidani and Aedani) is a white Greek wine grape variety that is grown primarily on the island of Santorini but it can also be found on other Greek isles in the Aegean Sea. The grape is known for its floral aroma and is used mainly in winemaking as a blending partner with grapes such as Athiri to make dry wines.


Airén is a variety of Vitis vinifera, a white grape commonly used in winemaking. This grape is native to Spain where it represents about 30% of all grapes grown. As of 2004, Airén was estimated to be the world’s most grown grape variety in terms of planted surface, at 306,000 hectares (760,000 acres), although it is almost exclusively found in Spain. Since Airén tends to be planted at a low density, several other varieties (including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) are more planted in terms of number of vines. Plantations of Airén are declining as it is being replaced in Spanish vineyards with various red varieties, such as Tempranillo.


Alarije is a minor variety of white wine grape from Spain. It is most often used in blends.


Albalonga is a white German wine grape variety that is a crossing (plant) between Riesling and Silvaner. It is grown primarily in the Rheinhessen where, in favorable vintages, it can produce wines up to auslese-level sweetness. However, the variety is prone to various grape rots which can make viticulture difficult for the variety.


Albana is a white Italian wine grape planted primarily in the Emilia-Romagna region.

The wine made from the grape, Albana di Romagna, was first awarded DOCG status (Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita) in 1987. The grape produces deeply colored wines and could be related to Greco di Tufo.

The history of this grape variety is unclear and confused with legends; it is believed that it was introduced to the region by the ancient Romans. The name Albana refers to the colour of the grapes (Albus = white in Latin).

In the 13th century Pier de’ Crescenzi in his famous Treatise on Agriculture, describes Albana as “a powerful wine with an axcellent taste, but at the same time easy to be preserved”. Also in the 13th century, agricultural writer Petrus di Crescentiis mentions the grapes used in wine being produced in the Emilia-Romagna region.In the 18th century, an agronomist from Bologna, Vincenzo Tamara, mentioned this grape variety.


Albariño (Galician pronunciation: [albaˈɾiːɲo]) or Alvarinho (Portuguese: [aɫvaˈɾiɲu]) is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain), Monção and Melgaço (northwest Portugal), where it is used to make varietal white wines.

Albariño is actually the Galician name for the grape. In Portugal it is known as Alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco.

It was presumably brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelfth century. Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white [wine] from the Rhine” and it has locally been thought to be a Riesling clone originating from the Alsace region of France, although earliest known records of Riesling as a grape variety date from the 15th, rather than the 12th, century. It is also theorized that the grape is a close relative of the French grape Petit Manseng.

It should not be confused with the Alvarinho Liláz grape of Madeira.


Albarola is a white Italian wine grape variety grown in the northwest Italy. It is most commonly found in the Liguria region where producers in the Cinqueterre Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) use it as a blending component. Wine expert Jancis Robinson describes the wine made from Albarola as fairly “neutral” in profile. Outside of Liguria, the grape was historically grown in Sicily but for most of the 20th century has been declining in plantings along with other ancient Sicilian varieties like Albanello, Damaschino, Minnella Bianca and Montonico Bianc.


Albillo or Albillo Real is a white Spanish wine grape planted primarily in the Ribera del Duero region, and also in Madrid, Ávila and Galicia. The grape has mostly neutral flavors with a light perfume aroma. It has a high glycerol index which confers smoothness to the wines.

It is sometimes added to the red wines of the Ribera del Duero for added aromatics. The berries are of average size, round in shape and golden in colour. The grape bunches are generally small and compact. It is an early ripening variety and in central Spain is usually harvested in mid August.

It is an authorized variety in the Ribera del Duero region and one of the main varieties in the Vinos de Madrid DO.


Viura, also called Macabeo (Spanish: [makaˈβeo]) or Macabeu (Catalan: [məkəˈβew], French: [makabø]) is a white variety of wine grape.

It is widely grown in the Rioja region of northeastern Spain, the Cava producing areas south of Barcelona, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Spanish plantations stood at near 32,000 hectares (79,000 acres) in 2004,and French plantations at 2,800 hectares (6,900 acres) in 2007.

The grape is used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. It is often the main grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in unoaked and oaked versions. It was introduced in Rioja after the phylloxera epidemic, where it largely replaced Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca, partially because of the ability of its wines to better withstand oxidation.

Macabeu is traditionally blended with Xarel·lo and Parellada to make a sparkling Cava, the best known sparkling wine of Spain. It is also used in the base spirit used to create Obsello Absinthe.

In Roussillon, late picked Viura is also used in fortified wine (vin doux naturel).


Aligoté is a white grape used to make dry white wines in the Burgundy region of France, and which also has significant plantings in much of Eastern Europe including Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria. With 45,000 hectares (110,000 acres), it was the 22nd most planted vine variety in the world in 2004. The wine was first recorded in Burgundy in the 18th century.

Aligoté is used to produce a varietal white wine, and can be used in the blend of Burgundy’s sparkling wine, called Crémant de Bourgogne. In the varietal appellation Bourgogne Aligoté AOC up to 15% Chardonnay grapes may be blended in.[3] Traditionally, the cocktail kir (also known as vin blanc cassis in French) is made by adding cassis to an Aligoté white wine.

In Burgundy, where it often loses land to more prestigious grape varieties, Aligoté is often planted only in the poorer vineyard sites at the tops and bottoms of the slopes. This variety is more tolerant to the cold. The grape ripens early with moderate yields and produces wines high in acidity that can be drunk young. Its aroma includes elements of apples and lemons. Clive Coates says it is a variety very much of secondary importance in Burgundy which produces a light, primeur-style wine with slightly herbal flavour and rather higher acidity than the Chardonnay. The village of Bouzeron which is considered to represent the region’s finest examples of the variety with the appellation Bouzeron-Aligoté AOC restricting the yields to 45 hl/ha compared to the Bourgogne Aligoté AOC limited to 60 hl/ha.

Aligoté adds acidity and structure to other varieties when blended. The grape is often blended with Sacy to complement its acidity.


Altesse or Roussette is a white French wine grape variety found primarily in the Savoy wine region of France. It yields small harvests and ripens late but is resistant to grey rot. Wines made from Altesse have exotic aromas, often together with citrus and herbs, and have good acidity. They are considered to age well.

In the vineyard, Altesse is said to be very similar to the Furmint variety of Hungary. The origin of Altesse is subject to various claims, including an origin in Cyprus, but a French origin seems more probable.


Amigne is a white Swiss wine grape planted primarily in the Valais region, with most of the plantations in Vetroz. Total Swiss plantations of the variety in 2009 stood at 43 hectares (110 acres).

The grape can make rich, full bodied wines. Dry Amigne wines are powerful with linden aromas, and it is also used for sweet dried grape wines (flétri), which tend to have citrus fruit and bitter almond aromas.

DNA profiling at UC Davis has indicated a parent-offspring relationship between Amigne and Petit Meslier, which was unexpected from a classical ampelographic point of view. (It was previously believed to be related to Petite Arvine.


Ansonica or Inzolia is a white Italian wine grape planted primarily in western Sicily where it can be used to produce Marsala wine. The grape is noted for its nutty aroma. In Tuscany, the grape is known as Ansonica.

Aragnan Blanc

Aragnan blanc (also spelled as Araignan blanc) is a white French wine grape variety found primarily in southeastern France where it is a permitted grape variety in the white wines of the Palette Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) near Provence. The French ampelographer Pierre Galet speculated that the variety may have originated from the Vaucluse area near the Rhone. Galet further speculated that it could be related (or even a white colored mutation) of the Oeillade variety which was historically grown as a table grape in the Rhone and itself likely related to Cinsaut.


Arbois or Arbois Blanc is a white French wine grape variety planted primarily in the Loire regions. Despite being a minor grape, in the late 20th century it was the third most widely planted grape variety in the Loir-et-Cher département which includes the winemaking areas of Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Montrichard, Oisly, Saint-Romain-sur-Cher, Valençay as well as vineyards that make wines under the Touraine AOC, Cremant de Loire AOC and Vin de Pays du Loir et Cher. By 2004 acreage had steadily declined to around 750 acres (300 hectares). It is still a permitted grape variety in the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) regions of Cheverny AOC, Valençay AOC and Vouvray AOC.


Arinto or Arinto de Bucelas is a white Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Bucelas, Tejo and Vinho Verde regions. It can produce high acid wines with lemon notes.


Arneis is a white Italian wine grape variety originating from Piedmont, Italy. It is most commonly found in the hills of the Roero, northwest of Alba, where it is part of the white Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines of Roero. It can also be used to produce DOC wines in Langhe. Arneis (literally: little rascal, in Piedmontese) is so called because it is regarded as a somewhat difficult variety to grow. It is a crisp and floral varietal, and has been grown for centuries in the region. The white wines made from the Arneis grape tend to be dry and full body with notes of pears and apricots.


Arnsburger is a white variety of grape used for wine. It was created 1939 by Heinrich Birk (1898-1973) at the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute by crossing two clones of Riesling, clone 88 and clone 64. Arnsburger did not receive varietal protection until 1984. It was named after Arnsburg Abbey, a ruin of a Cistercian abbey in Wetterau, as a homage of the importance of Cistercians in the history of German wine.

Plantations of Arnsburger is very small. Other than in Germany, small plantation on Madeira, in Italy and on New Zealand are known.

Arnsburger has low susceptibility to gray rot, a fruitiness similar to Riesling. It gives higher yields than Müller-Thurgau but lower must weights.

The only synonym of Arnsburger is its breeding code Geisenheim 22- 74.

Arnsburg was used as a crossing partner for Saphira.


Arrufiac (or Arrufiat) is a white French wine grape variety that is primarily planted in the Gascony region of South West France. It is a secondary grape in the wines from the Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). While the grape has had a long history being blended with Petit Courbu in Gascon wines, it has only recently experienced a resurgence of interest in the late 20th century following the release of white blends from Andrė Dubosc of Producteurs Plaimont, one of the region’s largest co-operative wineries, in the 1980s.

Arvine ( Petite )

Petite Arvine is a white wine grape planted primarily in the Valais region of Switzerland. Total Swiss plantations of the variety in 2009 stood at 154 hectares (380 acres).

Ampelographers believed it to be related to the Swiss grape Amigne, but DNA typing of Amigne has now cast a doubt on that. Petite Arvine’s origin is currently listed as Italy.

Petite Arvine has a reputation as a high-class grape variety, and is seen as best “speciality grape” of Valais. Its wines are rich in extract and it is used for dry, semi-sweet and sweet wines.

Asprinio Bianco

Asprinio bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety grown primarily in southwest Italy around the Naples region of Campania. It is currently not believed to be related to the similarly named French wine grape of the Languedoc region, Aspiran. In Naples the grape is used to make lightly sparkling frizzante wine.


Assyrtiko or Asyrtiko is a white Greek wine grape indigenous to the island of Santorini. Assyrtiko is widely planted in the arid volcanic-ash-rich soil of Santorini and other Aegean islands, such as Paros. It is also found on other scattered regions of Greece such as Chalkidiki.

On Santorini, many old vine plantations (over 70 years of age) of Assyrtiko exists, of which many are non-grafted. These plantations have shown resistance to Phylloxera.


Athiri or Athiri Aspro is a white Greek wine grape used to make Retsina on the island of Rhodes.

The grape is noted for its lemon character and in other parts of Greece it is often blended with Assyrtiko. In other areas it is blended with Vilana and Ladikino.

Its close association with Rhodes has developed in the use of “Rhodes” as a synonym for the grape that can be appear on Greek wine labels.

Aubin Blanc

Aubin Blanc (or simply Aubin) is a white wine grape from the upper reaches of the Moselle valley in eastern France.

DNA fingerprinting has shown that Aubin is the result of a cross between Gouais Blanc and Savagnin. Gouais Blanc was widely grown by the French peasantry in the Medieval age, and it is a parent of Chardonnay and Aubin Vert among others. Savagnin is common in Jura wine (including Vin jaune) and is a variety in the Traminer family which also includes Gewürztraminer.

Auxerrois Blanc

Auxerrois Blanc (pronounced: [o.sɛʁ.wa blɑ̃]) or Auxerrois Blanc de Laquenexy is a white wine grape that is important in Alsace, and is also grown in Germany and Luxembourg. It is a full sibling of Chardonnay that is often blended with the similar Pinot Blanc.

Auxerrois Blanc is thought to have originated in Lorraine, rather than near Auxerre in the Yonne. Recent DNA fingerprinting suggests that it is a cross between Gouais blanc and Pinot noir, the same ancestry as Chardonnay. The name Auxerrois Blanc has actually been used as a synonym for Chardonnay in the Moselle region in France, which explains why there is also a longer name (Auxerrois Blanc de Laquenexy) for the grape variety.


Avesso is a white Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Minho region of Portugal. It can make full bodied aromatic wines. Ampelographers believe it maybe related to the Portuguese grape Jaen.

Azal Branco

Azal Branco is a white Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Minho region. It noted for the high acidity of its wines, and is used for white Vinho Verde. Varietal Azal Branco wines can be somewhat reminiscent of Riesling.

Total Portuguese plantations are around 5,100 hectares (13,000 acres), which makes it the second-most planted grape variety of Minho, after Loureiro.


Published on October 6, 2011 at 09:19  Comments (2)  

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  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!

    • Thank You for visiting . I’m getting a few more chapters ready , so feel free and check My blog at Your earliest convenience .
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