At B&C we are always interested in the latest research in all things booze. A recent scientific study by a British-Danish-French-Spanish and German team, looked at the genetics of grape pips from the Iron Age, Roman and medieval era. The grape pips came from sites across France. The DNA was then matched to a genetic databank of modern varieties. A major finding was that the Savagnin grape variety that we enjoy today has existed for over 900 years. The study also revealed that the Romans were creating wine with grapes that were genetically related to Pinot Noir and Syrah. Due to the fact that Savagin (the principla white grape of the Jura) has been propagated as cuttings were taken for almost 1,000 years, its genetic characteristic are so recognisable.
Dr Nathan Wales from the University of York said: “We found one medieval grape seed from central France that is directly connected to Savignin blanc. It’s a type of grape that’s grown today in France and we see that it has a direct link for 900 years, which means that people have taken this one vine and they’ve propagated it by cuttings for over 900 years.”
Another finding from the study was the genetic similarities discovered between grape seeds found in different locations, sometimes hundreds of kilometres apart, which suggested that cuttings were being shared between winemaking estates across ancient and medieval France.