This black French-American hybrid grape is known for its ability to make simple, tasty wines.
Rougeon produces medium-sized compact clusters. Its grape vines are hardy, but production can be erratic at times, causing its yields to come as often as twice a year or as few as every two years.
Like all other grapes, Rougeon is susceptible to disease. The two highest disease exposures this grape could suffer from are downy mildew and powdery mildew. These diseases have the potential to reduce vine growth, yield, quality, and winter hardiness, especially because the Rougeon grows in tight clusters. Other disease susceptibilities are black rot and botrytis as well as some sensitivity to sulfur.
Rougeon also produces a beautiful red color and is often mixed to make a blended wine. However, it has also been used to make port wines. Rougeon grape is often blended with grapes such as Chambourcin and Baco Noir. Erik Bandzak, of Aliceanna Winery chose this grape due to its deep red color and very dry taste. “Most winemakers use this grape to make port-style wines, but I believe it has a great taste on its own,” said Bandzak.
Bandzak maintains that his use of the grape has little to no downsides. “While most winemakers dislike it because of its inconsistent yields, I have been able to source enough from the farm for the last 10 years to make the smaller amounts I require,” said Bandzak. “I have found it to be consistent in taste and color.”
Romano Winery, founded by Joseph and Jo-Ann Romano, also uses Rougeon in its wines. The founders say that Rougeon boasts “a black cherry aroma leads to a medium-bodied red with a deliciously sweet finish.” The label suggests enjoying with red meat, ripe cheeses or good conversation.
Joe Romano spoke highly of the Rougeon grape. “One of the reasons that I selected Rougeon was because Rougeon wine was not widely available as a varietal as it is typically used in blending for its color,” said Romano. He was looking for a wine that would stand out, and he found the dark red color and aroma attractive and thought as a sweet wine—also atypical or this grape—it would be very interesting. “In the end, the wine turned out to be everything I hoped for, and it’s great with chocolate!”
Maryland Wineries Association (MWA)
6247 Falls Rd
Baltimore, MD 21209