Ugni Blanc is France's most planted white grape varietal, particularly important in the Cognac and Armagnac regions. It is also often blended with Colombard and other white varietals. It is also known as St-Emilion in Cognac, Clairette Ronde in southern France and Muscadet Aigre in the Gironde region.
Ugni Blanc originally comes from Italy, specifically Tuscany, where it is produced under the name Trebbiano Toscano - (Trebbiano is also used to produce balsamic vinegar).
Ugni Blanc in France, for a long time has been used to create aromatic and dry white wines, classified as 'Vins de Pays'. The grapes are quite sensitive to winter frosts, needing mild climates to fully ripen.

 

If Ugni Blanc grapes grow close to the sea, the wine becomes slightly sour and acidic, which is quite important for distilling Cognac. When grown in the countryside, the wine becomes more balanced. In Provence, Ugni Blanc wines are smooth with complex notes of pine resin, quince and lemon.
Ugni Blanc is a late budding and ripening grape that fares badly in harsh winters. Ugni Blanc is not a particularly demanding grape variety in terms of soil, nevertheless, like many grape varieties; it grows very well in calcareous soils.
This grape variety is highly vigorous and its yields must be sharply limited to obtain high quality wines. To identify Ugni Blanc, look first at its bunches which are very long, its tough-skinned berries are round, and their skin can become slightly pinkish when overripe. The bunches are very big whereas the berries are small to medium-sized.
In cooler areas, Ugni Blanc makes white wines that are quite lively with a rather discreet aroma. In the warmer areas of southern Aquitaine and on the Mediterranean coast, it makes smoother, more flavourful wines, characterized by a fresh, full-bodied mouthfeel. In the Auch, Angouleme and Rochefort regions, it is the grape variety of choice for making top-quality brandies. Ugni Blanc's aroma is primarily fruity, with citrus notes, such as lemon, as well as quince.