Scandal has rocked the grape world. Call the tabloids! According to a paper published yesterday, some high profile varieties have some questionable parentage. Decanter.com reported on this story. Actually, the only real news here is who the mother is.
Gouais Blanc, the trailer trash of the grape world, seems to be the mother of some notable varieties, including Chardonnay and Gamay Noir. An earlier paper had already revealed that Gouais Blanc was crossed with Pinot Noir to produce several varieties, but this paper revealed that it was actually the mother of Aligoté, Auxerrois, Bachet, Chardonnay, Franc noir, Gamay noir, Melon, Romorantin and Sacy.
The Gouais Blanc grape has been so looked down on, that it was once banned in Europe for poor quality. Why does it matter that this grape was the mother? From the paper -
It is particularly ironic that the despised grape Gouais Blanc was not
just a parent for several of the world's best-known and most important
varieties, such as Chardonnay and Aligoté, it was the maternal parent,
providing additional DNA and potentially determining important
characteristics of the offspring.
This actually seems like a true Horatio Alger story. Grape from the wrong side of the tracks, poor and highly acidic, manages to change the direction of it's family tree, eventually leading to one of the most popular white varieties. Kind of brings a tear to your eye.