Ugni Blanc

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Ugni Blanc (which is in fact Italy’s ubiquitous trebbiano toscano) is France’s most planted white grape variety by far, with almost twice as much French vineyard devoted to it than Chardonnay, and yet it is rarely seen on a wine label. Just as airén, Spain’s most planted white variety, supplies that country’s voracious brandy stills, so the copious, thin, acid wine of Ugni Blanc washes through armagnac and, especially, cognac stills. In Charentes it is often known as St-Émilion.

But despite eu encouragement to pull up poorer-quality vines, and a distinctly sluggish market for brandy, France’s total plantings of Ugni Blanc fell by well under 20% between the late 1980s and 2011 to 83,230 ha/205,578 acres.