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Auxerrois Grape Variety: Not Well Known

The Auxerrois grape variety is an interesting grape for winemakers. The white grape variety is frequently found in Alsace, France. The grape is frequently used for blending but occasionally is used as a single varietal wine. The Auxerrois name is also confusing. Consider that some writers have noted that Auxerrois is the name of a city. Others have determined that the name refers to a red grape or a white grape.

In The Wine Bible,  Karen MacNeil describes the Auxerrois white grape. “Auxerrois (AUCHS-AIR-WAA: Fairly common in Alsace, France, where it originated as a progeny of pinot noir and gouais blanc, making auxerrois a sibling of chardonnay. Usually blended into pinot blanc in Alsace. Confusingly, in southwest France, auxerrois is a synonym for the red variety côt, or malbec.”

It was in 1999 that the University of California, Davis used DNA testing to prove that Auxerrois is a cross between Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir.

In Jancis Robinson’s Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours,  she describes Auxerrois as early ripening with small berries and small grape bunches. The grape bunches are also compact. Perhaps this is one reason the grape is susceptible to rot.

Auxerrois is primarily grown in Alsace, Lorraine and Luxembourg.  This variety is also grown in Germany. Auxerrois vines prefer cool climates. A small amount of Auxerrois is available in Ohio, Michigan and Oregon. Still Auxerrois is a relatively unknown grape for many wine drinkers.

Adelsheim's Auxerrois

Adelsheim’s Auxerrois

David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Winery, is a well-known winery owner who brought this variety to his vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley from Alsace in 1977. Today Adelsheim is growing just over two acres of Auxerrois.

During our wine travels in an earlier year we visited Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery in Michigan. We described the Bel Lago Auxerrois as, “Auxerrois 2009 was a light yellow color. The aroma and taste offered fruit salad notes including pear, melons and a hint of citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Synonyms for Auxerrois include: Auxera, Auxerrois de Laquenexy, Auxerrois gris, Auzerrois blanc, Blanc de Kienzheim, Ericey de la Montee, Okseroa and Pinot Auxerrois.

As you travel, keep an eye out for wines produced with Auxerrois. The wines can be either stand alone or blends. It should be noted that occasionally Auxerrois is mistaken for Pinot Blanc or Chardonnay. When visiting a winery and tasting Auxerrois, be sure to ask about the vineyards and the wine.


Appearance: small bunches, small berries
Attributes: Look for notes of pear, melon, citrus
Pairing: Serve with salmon, scallops, sushi, crab salad

We are interested in discovering more sources for Auxerrois, if you know of other US wineries producing Auxerrois, please contact us. What is your opinion of Auxxerrois?


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