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Madeleine Angevine  (Barrington Brock 7672)

Mother: is almost certainly the original French Madeleine Angevine, a crossing between Madeleine Royale and Précoce de Malingre by the Vibert nursery at Angers, the seedling was obtained in 1857. Moreau-Robert, the successor to Vibert, commercialised it in 1863 presenting it as the most precocious variety of Table grape.
The original Madeleine Angevine has female flowers only (so it is not self-pollinating) it has frequently been used for breeding, it is the mother of Siegerrebe, Forta, Comtessa, Noblessa, Madeline Céline, Madeleine Angevine Oberlin, Madeleine Salomon, Lafayette and Président Carnot, and the paternal grandmother of Reichensteiner and Ortega. The leaf shape is very similar to the Barrington Brock Madeleine Angevine; there is no other white grape variety illustrated by Galet (Cépages et Vignobles de France) which has any resemblance at all.
Father: unknown.

Year of breeding: the exact year is unknown, we can deduce it was 1930 or before.

Country of origin: unknown.

History of the variety:-
Four unrooted cuttings were sent to Ray Barrington Brock from the German viticultural institute at Alzey in February 1957; German documents (in the possession of Stephen Skelton) show the name as Sämling 7672. In the same shipment were some Müller-Thurgau, Siegerrebe, Scheurebe and Sämling 23469; Sämling is the German word for seedling.

At his Research Station at Oxted in Surrey, Ray grew these, trialed and propogated from them and sold vines to several English vineyards. Gillian Pearkes, the doyenne of English vinegrowers, grew and promoted the variety during the 1970s and 1980s.
Ray Barrington Brock gave the plants the name Madeleine X Angevine No.7672; recorded in documentation which Stephen Skelton has. The great question is why did Ray add Madeleine Angevine to the name?

According to Mr Barrington Brock's Progress with Vines and Wines, Report No. 3, 1961:- "Madeleine Angevine 7972 is a white grape which appears likely to give extremely large crops, and has come to us from Germany.". It is now established that 7972 was simply a misprint of 7672.
Ray was kind enough to write to me on 5 January 1987: "I was very pleased to hear from you and to gather that at last someone is going to do some real work on vines. Unfortunately, I stopped work entirely in 1962 on the vine problems and all the researches and note books right from 1945 are put away until such time as someone starts a complete historical survey of all my work. Probably in another hundred years when people really wonder how it all started!! I am afraid that I cannot spare the time to unearth all the records from the mass of stuff that may be relevant, but I have looked up the reports Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and I find there is no mention of Madeleine Angevine in 1949 or 1950, and that it was mentioned as 'possible' in 1961. It would therefore have probably arrived from the Station des Recherches Viticoles at Pully, near Lausanne (Switzerland) about 1957. I seem to remember that there were several Madeleine Angevine at that time and several Madeleine Sylvaner. It is possible they may have come from Siebeldingen (the Bundesforschungsanstalt für Rebenzüchtung Geilweilerhof at Siebeldingen bei Landau, Rheinpfalz) but much of my German material came from Pully as they were doing tests just like mine. Their results did not always agree with mine, and this was when I began to appreciate the vital importance of 'sunshine threshhold', i.e. some varieties will continue to ripen with warmth but without sunshine, while others will not. Switzerland would normally get sufficient sunshine to be over this threshhold while we are not.".

I then wrote to Pully and on 3 April 1987 M. J-L Simon replied: (translated from French) "Your letter of 10 January 1987 captured my attention and we have done some research before replying. We have in our collection since 1920, a white table grape which is precocious and catalogued as 'Madeleine Angevine'. It is certainly this one which was given to Mr Barrington Brock about 1957; however, I cannot remember a vine given the number 7672 and we have not made any crossings with Madeleine Angevine.".
He sent me a photocopy from Cepages Obtenus en France au XIX Siecle, describing the original Vibert Madeleine Angevine, which has the number (Provenance) 0652.

In several visits I made to Geilweilerhof there was nothing in their records to indicate that Madeleine Angevine 7672 originated there. All of their information was about the original French Madeleine Angevine.

In Spring 1987 I gave three Madeleine Angevine vines grafted on SO4 rootstock from my own bud-wood, to Frau Müller the ampelography specialist for the Bundesortenamt, based at Hassloch/Pfalz, and on 23 September 1988 she informed me that one of these had very impressive bunches of grapes. Unfortunately I subsequently lost contact with her.

In my visits to Alzey they examined their breeding records and could find nothing with the notation 7672. I saw the original Log of their Sämlings (seedlings) for 1929/30, the closest were:-
  number 83 (reference 5272): Madeleine Angevine x Tressot F2
  number 84 (reference 5276): Madeleine Angevine x Tressot F2
They say there were 1397 offspring of their Madeleine Angevine, the time of George Scheu's breeding programme. Scheurebe is still sometimes referred to as Sämling 88.

Although it may be that Sämling 7672 was bred at Alzey, they could find nothing in their records to confirm that.

One may wonder if there is any connection with the '1920' Madeleine Angevine that Ray Barrington Brock said he had received from Pully, which I suspect could have originated at Colmar in Alsace, where the original Vibert Madeleine Angevine was used for breeding:-

The Alsace engineer Philip Christian Oberlin (1831-1915) began with vines around 1854, planting a vineyard to trial and compare varieties. In 1895 he founded the Domaine Viticole Oberlin and in 1897 he founded the Institute Viticole Oberlin at Colmar. In 1904 there were 1,194 different varieties planted there.
In about 1880 Oberlin had created Goldriesling (Riesling x Courtiller Musqué Précoce (Muscat Précoce de Saumur)) which started to be planted in Saxony in 1913, and was used at the Institute by Oberlin's successor Eugène Kuhlmann (1858-1932) to father the hybrids Léon Millot (K 194-2), Lucie Kuhlmann (K 149-3, created about 1911 and commercialised from 1921), Maréchal Joffre (K 187-1), Maréchal Foch (K 188-2), Pinard (K 191-1), Etoile I, Etoile II (K 237-2) and the Triomphe d'Alsace (K 319-1).
Lafayette (Madeleine Angevine x Riesling) was another of Oberlin's crossings, and the Vibert Madeleine Angevine was also mother of the hybrid Madeleine Angevine Oberlin (Geilweilerhof's international database records this as an openly pollinated seedling, so the father is unknown, unfortunately it has no record of the year of breeding). Around the year 1900 Oberlin produced the red hybrid Oberlin Noir (Oberlin 595).

Bearing in mind that travel and transport before 1920 was very much slower than it is today, new varieties bred at Colmar would spread only slowly, so for it to reach Pully by 1920 is what one might expect.
To put the above timescale in context, from 1674 to 1871 Alsace was part of France. Then the Franco-Prussian war ceeded it to the German Empire until 1918. Under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles it reverted to France, until 1940 when Nazi Germany occupied it. After 1945 it again became part of France.
The mildew Oidium tuckeri, which was first found at Versailles around 1848, had spread to Alsace by 1876, and it was this that caused the vine-breeders to turn their attention to hybrids.

Since the Barrington Brock Madeleine Angevine 7672 is definitely not a hybrid one may hypothesize that it could be from Oberlin's early breeding programme, before he started work on hybrids. Kuhlmann's work seems to have concentrated only on hybrids.

Possible future lines of investigation are:-
 - a gas-chromatograph leaf analysis by Geilweilerhof.
 - a DNA 'fingerprinting' analysis developed originally by University of California Davis, see
      the information on Pinot noir.

Breeder/License holder: none
Number of clones: none

Area planted in England (as at August 2004): 48.3 hectares, 7th largest
It is now aslo grown in Sweden, Denmark, Belgium etc.

Wine Character - colour: yellow-green
                      - bouquet: 
                      - palate: in almost every vintage, with sufficient acidity, it makes a very good dry white wine on it's own; it is not suited to sweetening. Due to it's special flavour it doesn't blend with other varieties. It benefits considerably from oak maturation, French and American oak. The wine continues to develop in character for many years. Occasionally in it's early development the wine can have a pear-drop aroma but this disappears with time. The flavour has a slight earthiness and hints of white pears and sometimes walnuts.

     

Time of bud-burst: middle-early

Strength of growth: medium to strong
Growth of side-shoots: medium

Flowering time: middle-late
Flowering strength: very high
    as with almost all varieties, the flowers are hermaphrodite (male and female organs together in each flower) and hence self-fertile (not requiring another variety to pollinate it).
Gillian Pearkes wrote "it can and does set a full crop even when flowering coincides with cold, damp, drizzly weather - which is unique".

Leaf: - size: medium-large                 - shape: round, toothed edge, 3 to weak 5 lobed
        - colour: 
        - surface undulation:                 - petiolar sinus: V-shape, open
        thin leaves are easily damaged by strong winds.

Grape bunch: - size: medium              - density: tight
Berries:        - size: medium              - shape: round
                   - skin colour: yellow-green

Time of veraison: early to middle
Time of harvest: early, typically 25 to 28 September (70 to 75 days from berry set to harvest), it should be harvested at 65 Oeschle or slightly less, for optimum flavour. Sufficient acidity must be preserved if the wine is to be good.

Grape yield: high
Must-weight: medium to low
Must-acidity: medium to low

Wood ripening: very good
Winter hardiness: very good
Wood colour: brown

Chlorosis resistance: medium (slightly susceptible)
Susceptibility to - Oidium: medium                 - Peronospora: medium
                       - Botrytis: low to medium       - Roter Brenner: 
                       - Phomopsis:                        - Stem-atrophy: very low

Preferred soil: 
Suitable rootstocks: SO4

Normal stem height: 0.7m
Normal row spacing: 1.8 to 2.0m
Vine spacing in the row: 1.2m

Winter Pruning: 8 (to 10) eyes/buds per sq. metre of land occupied by the plant.

Advantages: Very high flowering strength giving consistently high yields. In very bad weather it is the best variety for flowering/berry-set. The wine ages very well and is one of very few varieties which we can grow in the UK that has a French style.

Disadvantages: Can have a slightly earthy taste which around 10% of consumers don't like. Susceptible to attack by wasps in certain years.

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