Chambourcin Grape Variety & Wine Profile
Chambourcin is one of the most popular hybrid grapes across the world. Like many hybrids, it was originally produced in France by a man named Joannes Seyve in the early 1960s, but it has since found favor in parts of the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Despite being a popular grape used in winemaking in the 1970s in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley regions, Chambourcin is no longer allowed to be used in AOC or even IGP wines across France because of its status as a hybrid French/American grape, although it is sometimes used in Vin de Table wines in the western Loire Valley region around Nantes. Now, it is quite popular in winemaking throughout states like Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and in British Columbia, Canada, and New South Wales, Australia. This grape is fungal resistant and is the parent to the new disease-resistant grape variety, Regent, which is grown primarily in Germany, Switzerland, and Okanagan Valley.
In the vineyard, Chambourcin is a vigorously productive grape. It thrives in well-drained loamy soils and shale. It can grow successfully in cooler regions such as upstate New York and parts of Canada, as well as more moderate regions in Virginia, and warm, humid regions found in New South Wales, Australia. Its tolerance to diseases, especially ones caused by humidity, makes it fairly easy to manage in the vineyard and in warmer or more humid climates.
Chambourcin Tasting Notes
Chambourcin is a deep colored and aromatic red wine grape that is also a “teinturier” grape, meaning that its juice is pink or red instead of clear like most other red grapes. Many producers utilize oak in the winemaking process to soften acidity, which can be quite high in cooler regions. Chambourcin produces a wine that is typically high in acidity with modest tannins and strong flavors that can be complemented with the addition of oak aging.
In the glass, you can expect flavors of black cherry, red fruit, herbaceous notes, black pepper, and even chocolate. Chambourcin can be a single varietal wine or used in blends as it is often produced in Australia where it is blended with Shiraz. It can even be made into a semi-sweet wine or sparkling red wine. It is best consumed in its youth due to its freshness and can be served chilled because of its typically strong flavor.
Chambourcin wines are best paired with hamburgers, seared steak, or gamey meat like veal or venison. The wines can go well with tomato-based pasta dishes and even dark chocolate, which pairs nicely with semi-sweet versions that still maintain the darker flavors of the wine.
Learn About These Other Wine Grape Varieties
Written By Jacqueline Coleman
Jacqueline Coleman is a professional wine + travel writer, wine judge, columnist, and consultant based in Miami, FL.