Gouais Blanc

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Gouais Blanc, genetically important, light-skinned grape variety commonly planted in central and north eastern France in the Middle Ages which produced rather ordinary, acid wine, while the more highly valued Pinots were planted on more favoured sites. dna profiling has shown that Gouais Blanc and Pinot had a great number of important progeny in Northern France (see pinot). Following that discovery, researchers became more interested in this ancient variety and realized that, besides its numerous synonyms in France, Gouais Blanc is also identical to Belina Drobna and Heunisch Weiss or Weisser Heunisch in Eastern Europe, and to Liseiret and Preveiral in Italy. Moreover, dozens of additional possible parent–offspring relationships have been suggested between Gouais Blanc and French or European varieties, including riesling, blaufränkisch, and furmint. Gouais Blanc has been called a ‘key variety’ for grape diversity in Europe by some researchers, and some others have even nicknamed it the ‘Casanova of grapes’. Varietal Gouais Blanc is produced by Josef-Marie Chanton of Visp in Switzerland’s Valais under the name Gwäss and some is also grown in Australia where is has been known as Best’s No 4.