The white grape variety comes from France. Synonyms are Blanc de Villefranche, Bury, Celle Bruere, Dameret Blanc, Dameri, Damery, Daneri, Danneri, Dannery, Dannesi, Dannezy, Framboisé, Gros Blanc, Gros Blanc de Villefranche, Gros Plant de Villefranche, Lyonnaise Blanche, Maclon, Petit Dannezy, Petit Mâconnais, Plant de Breze, Ramorantin, Romoranten, Romorantin Blanc, Saint Amand and Verneuil According to DNA analyses carried out in 2013, it is the result of a presumably natural cross between Pinot (another analysis identified Pinot Teinturier) and Gouais Blanc. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics).
The variety is named after the community of the same name in the Département Loir-et-Cher in central France. Here the French king François I. (1494-1547) owned a country estate. It is said that in 1519 he had some 80,000 vines imported from Burgundy. According to an unverifiable hypothesis, the Romorantin variety was also among them, but there is no historical evidence of this. According to a much more credible hypothesis, around 1830, the variety was brought to the commune of Villefranche-sur-Cher by an unknown winegrower and then spread throughout the département because of its good qualities.
The medium-ripening, high-yielding vine produces full-bodied, fresh white wines with aromas of pears, apples and caraway. In 1993, the Cour-Cheverny appellation was created for this variety on the left bank of the Loire. At the Domaine de la Charmoise estate in the commune of Soings-en-Sologne in the Touraine area, there is a small plot of unplanted old vines of this variety dating from 1850. In 2010, the total French vineyard area was 72 hectares in the department of Loir-et-Cher (Kym Anderson).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Pl@ntGrape, INRA/IFV/Montpellier SupAgro