The red grape variety comes from France. Synonyms are Aramone, Aramonen, Aramon Noire, Aramon Pignat, Aramon Pigne, Aramon Saint Joseph, Aramont, Arramant, Eramoul, Eromoul, Gros Bouteillan, Pisse-Vin, Plant Riche, Rabalaïré, Raballaïré, Ramonen, Réballaïré, Revalaire, Revellaire, Ugni Noir(France); Amor-Não-Me-Deixes (Portugal); Burchardt's Prince, Aramon Chernyi, Aramon Crni, Kék Aramon Although it appears to have synonyms or morphological similarities, it should not be confused with the varieties Bouteillan Noir or Juan García. There is no relation to Trebbiano Toscano (Ugni Blanc), which could be indicated by the synonym Ugni Noir. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2012, it is the result of a presumably natural cross between Ouliven x Gouais Blanc. In the Hérault area there are the light-berry mutations Aramon Blanc (15 ha) and Aramon Gris (39 ha). Aramon Noir was crossbreeding partner in the new varieties Alicante Ganzin, Bouschet Gros, Clairette Dorée Ganzin, Flot Rouge, Gramon, Grand Noir, Monerac and Petit Bouschet.
In 1824, the breeder Louis Bouschet crossed Aramon Noir with Teinturier du Cher. He called the result Petit Bouschet, which his son Henri Bouschet then crossed with Grenache Noir(Garnacha Tinta) in 1866 and gave the new variety the name Alicante Henri Bouschet (Alicante Bouschet). The colourful vine was then often grown together with Aramon Noir in a mixed set to give the wines more dark colour. The late maturing, high-yielding Aramon Noir is susceptible to downy mildew, botrytis, black spot disease (Phomopsis) and mites; however, it is resistant to powdery mildew. It produces rustic, rather acid, alcohol and extract-poor red wines with light colour.
Aramon Noir was the basis for mass red wines in Languedoc-Roussillon from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century. Around 1870 it covered over 200,000 hectares in the Département Hérault alone and was for a long time the most widely cultivated grape variety in France. Its formerly widespread use was based above all on high yields and its great resistance to powdery mildew, which ravaged the vineyards from 1860 onwards. Its decline began abruptly in 1955 when it was not classified as a quality grape variety and was not approved for Languedoc. It was quickly replaced by Carignan Noir(Mazuelo), Cinsaut and others. Today, 2,547 hectares of vineyards are planted with this variety in France. Small stocks also exist in Algeria and Portugal (14 ha). In 2010, the variety occupied a total of 2,561 hectares of vineyard area with an extremely declining trend (ten years earlier, the figure was 9,084 hectares). It occupies 150th place in the worldwide grape variety ranking.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)