Melon de Bourgogne or Melon is a variety of white grape grown in the Loire Valley region of France and best known through its use in the wine Muscadet.
DNA analysis has revealed Melon de Bourgogne to be a cross between Pinot and Gouais Blanc. As its name suggests, the grape originated in Burgundy and was grown there until its destruction was ordered in the early 18th century. In the vineyards around Nantes, however, the harsh winter of 1709 destroyed so many vines that a new variety was needed, and the Melon grape was introduced. Melon is distinguished by its great resistance to frost.
Since then it has been used solely in the production of the light dry white wine Muscadet, which is made entirely from the Melon grape. The grape is so associated with this popular appellation of the western Loire that the grape itself is often known as Muscadet. In terms of flavour it is an undistinguished grape with few strong features.
A few acres of the grape are also grown in Oregon, where it is known simply as Melon.
The grape has been introduced into Washington State by Perennial Vintners on Bainbridge Island just six miles across Puget Sound from Seattle. It is felt that the similar cool maritime influenced climate will be perfect due to its similarity to that of Nantes France. First commercial release expected in 2009.
Because of the similarity of its terroir to that of Burgundy, Prince Edward County in Ontario has witnessed several wineries release a Melon de Bourgogne.
Note that in the U.S., Federal law dictates what can be used on a wine label. The word "Muscadet" cannot be used for American-produced wine; only the full name of the grape, or the shortened "Melon" can be used.
Grape Colour: White
Also called: Auxerrois Gros, Biaune, Blanc de Nantes, Bourgogne Blanche, Bourgogne Verde, Bourgogne Verte, Bourguignon Blanc, Clozier, Feher Nagyburgundi, Feuille Ronde, Gamay Blanc, Gamay Blanc à Feuilles Rondes, Gamay Blanc Feullies Rondes, Game Kruglolistnyi, Gros Auxerrois, Gros Blanc, Grosse Saint Marie, Lyonnais, Lyonnaise Blanche, Malin Blanc, Mele, Melon, Meurlon, Mourlon, Muscadet, Perry, Petit Bourgogne, Petit Muscadet, Petite Biaune, Petoin, Petouin, Picarneau, Plant de Lons-Le-Saulnie, Roussette Basse, Später Weisser Burgunder and Weisser Burgunder