Clairette is a white wine grape variety most widely grown in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc in France. At the end of the 1990s, there were 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of Clairette grown in France, although volumes are decreasing.
Clairette Blanche was often used to make vermouth, to which it is suited as it produces wine high in alcohol and low in acidity, and therefore yields wines that are sometimes described as "flabby" and which tend to oxidise easily. These problems have sometimes been partially overcome by blending it with high-acid varieties such as Piquepoul Blanc. It is allowed into many appellations of Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc. The white wines Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are made entirely from Clairette Blanche, while the sparkling wine Clairette de Die can also contain Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Clairette Blanche is frequently used in the blended white Vin de pays from Languedoc.
It is also one of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. With 2.5% of the appellation's vineyards planted in Clairette Blanche in 2004 it is the most common white variety in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, slightly ahead of Grenache Blanc.
Outside France it is also grown in South Africa for sparkling wine, Australia and Sardinia.
Alternative Names: Clairette Blanche, Blanquette