Arbois

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Arbois is an obscure white grape variety used for blending in the Loire Valley. It is permitted in many of the Loire's appellations in small quantities to bring a softer quality to the wines, which is particularly useful in cooler years or for wines produced for early consumption. Unfortunately, Arbois' tendency to be high yielding and vigorous can lead to underripe flavours, and it is rarely found as a varietal wine.

The prestigious Vouvray appellation provides a good example of Arbois' use. It is one of only two grape varieties permitted, the other of course being Chenin Blanc. In practice, many Vouvray wines eschew the use of Arbois altogether, but some growers use the variety to balance out some of Chenin's acidity.

Arbois is losing ground to more recognisable varieties in the Loire, and now there are only around 750 acres (300ha) planted with it. It is worth noting that Arbois bears no relation to the Arbois appellation in the Jura region, the white wines of which rely on Savagnin and Chardonnay.
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