Chambourcin

Given that Chambourcin is a hybrid and thus, by its very genetic makeup, unable to be used for quality winemaking in its native France; it has proven to be a stalwart of the modern Australian wine industry, where there is little prejudice against hybrids. The reasons for this are simple: Chambourcin is a sturdy, purple grape variety of ample pigmentation, that is both vigorous and productive. It is also capable of withstanding humid conditions and the subsequent disease pressures that would otherwise make viticulture next to impossible along much of Australia's eastern seaboard, as well as in other sub-tropical and tropical regions.

Indeed, upon its introduction into Australia, Chambourcin was fervently championed by Richard Smart, the author of Sunlight into Wine. Smart is a leading viticulturalist known for his creative canopy management schemes. Smart is also well known for his bullish determination to prove that grapes can be ripened sufficiently for quality wine production-even in seemingly implausible climates-as long as the right cultivar and canopy management regime/s are opted for. Perhaps Smart saw Chambourcin as one of many tools to prove his thesis.

Nevertheless, the quality of wines produced from Chambourcin by the likes of Cassegrain, just outside of Port Macquarie, belie traditional Old World prejudice and vindicate Smart's efforts. They offer crunchy red fruit flavours, bright acidity and a streak of pepper through the finish.

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