Which of the following white grape varieties is a parent of the other three?

A. Chardonnay

B. Gouais Blanc

C. Colombard

D. Muscadelle


DNA fingerprinting at the University of California, Davis in the late 1990s identified gouais blanc (goo-AY blahnk) as one of the ancient “founder varieties.” As such, it is a parent or grandparent to at least 81 distinct western European grape varieties including such disparate varieties as chardonnay, riesling, muscadelle, blaufränkisch, and colombard. Derived from the old French adjective “gou”—a term of derision befitting its traditional status as the grape of the peasants—gouais blanc is considered neutral to the point of mediocrity. Extremely little wine is produced from gouais blanc today, in fact it’s no longer even cultivated in France, where it originated. However, an impressive sweet wine is made from it in the Rutherglen region of Victoria, Australia by Chambers Rosewood Winery from 100+ year-old vines.

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