Chardonnay - Clones, Crosses and Mutations
In 2006, French vineyards had adopted 34 different chardonnay clones from the University of Burgundy, in Dijon. These clones, known as Dijon clones, were created for their adaptability, and the vineyard owners selected the most suitable clone for their land that produced the desired characteristics of the wine.
The Dijon-76, 95 and 96 clones are more concentrated in flavor clusters. The Dijon 77 and 809 clones produce more aromatic vines with a grape scent, while the Dijon 75, 78, 121, 124, 125 and 277 are more vigorous and flexible clones. New World varieties include Mendoza clones, which produce some of California’s first chardonnays.
Some Mendoza clones can develop millerandage, also known as hen and chick, when berries develop unevenly in Oregon. The climate of the Willamette Valley is similar to that of Burgundy. The new Dijon clones have produced some successes in those regions of the valley.
The Chardonel hybrid, created in 1953 at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station as a cross between Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, is an example of a French-American hybrid grape. Chardonnay has also been used as a relative of some French-American hybrid grapes, as well as for crosses with other varieties of Vitis vinifera.
Among them is the Chardonel hybrid, which was a cross between Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc produced in 1953 at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Pink Chardonnay grapes are also produced. Chardonnay Blanc Musqué, for example, is intensely aromatic. Maconnais de Clessé, where the rare pink Chardonnay grape is produced, is also Chardonnay Blanc Musqué, and sometimes appears as the Dijon-166 clone in South Africa, with aromatic qualities similar to the muscat grape.
The hybrid grape Ravat Blanc, created in the 1930s by crossing Chardonnay with the Seibel grape, is derived from Chardonnay.