Auxxerois grapes

Auxerrois (or Pinot Auxerrois) is a white wine grape variety with a perplexing number of synonyms. True Auxerrois, often called Pinot Auxerrois or Auxerrois Blanc, is grown fairly extensively in Alsace and appears in more wines than most may realize. In Cahors, Auxerrois is a synonym for Malbec. Auxerrois Gris is, confusingly, a synonym for Pinot Gris.

The origin of Alsatian Auxerrois remains unclear; it shares the same spelling as a town in Chablis, but is pronounced differently. Outside France, it is grown in Germany, Austria, Italy and Luxembourg and there are also a handful of plantings in North America and South Africa. Auxerrois is most at home in Alsace, particularly in the north, where the cooler climate helps this low-acid variety achieve good levels of freshness.

A lot of Auxerrois is used in the sparkling wines of Cremant d’Alsace, where it is typically blended with Pinot Blanc. The relationship between Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc is interesting, as the former is allowed to be anonymously used in varietal Pinot Blanc wines. In fact, it is legal under AOC Alsace appellation conditions for a 100-percent Auxerrois wine to be labeled as Pinot Blanc.

As a wine, Auxerrois is more full bodied and less crisp than Pinot Blanc, but the two varieties complement each other’s weaknesses. The most traditional of style of this blend are Edelzwicker wines, where Auxerrois often plays a dominant but unstated role.