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France's finest rediscover their lowly roots

作者:谯埽擗    发布时间:2019-03-07 04:02:00    

By Alison Motluk A GRAPE so disdained that it was once banned from cultivation in France and is no longer even grown there actually gave birth to some of the world’s finest wines, say scientists in California and France. Much speculation has surrounded the origins of the grapes used to make fine French wines such as Chardonnay, Gamay Noir and Melon. Most of the varieties used today are centuries old, but because they are propagated from cuttings, they are genetically identical to those used in ancient times. Carole Meredith of the University of California at Davis hoped to identify the parents of some of France’s best wine grapes. So with colleagues at Davis and in Montpellier, France, she genetically screened 322 varieties. This revealed that 16 are siblings from a single set of parent grapes, Pinot and Gouais blanc. The researchers were shocked by the identity of the second parent, the lowly Gouais blanc. “That’s a variety that was considered ordinary at best,” says Meredith. “It’s really a sweet revenge for such an ordinary grape to have given rise to such prestigious children.” The researchers think Gouais blanc originated in what is now Croatia. It is genetically quite different from the other long-standing French grape varieties, says Meredith, and there is a literary reference to a Roman having brought a new variety to France from that part of the world. The high quality of its offspring may have something to do with the parents’ dissimilar genetics (Science, vol 285, p 1562). Although Gouais blanc has never been highly regarded and is only kept in a few collections,

 

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