BLANKbottle "Don't Look Back" Swartland (South Africa) Clairette has an orange flavor that jumps out of the glass to your nose and when you taste. I found this a little odd and had to taste again to be sure (and again and again). Initially I thought this was somewhat odd. It isn't unheard of but it is slightly less than an everyday wine drinking experience.
Orchard fruits make an appearance as well--pears or exotic apples perhaps. There is acidity here but it isn't "rip your face off" acidity. It gives this nuanced impression of roundness then the acidity taps you on the shoulder.
This is a complex little white wine. It is deceptive because it is fun and easy to drink. When you are tossing it back you do not want to think about it. It is like listening to your favorite high energy dance music. You just want to dance. You don't want to notice the song is about love and death and poverty and the various mysteries of existence. It also tosses in some minerality, a hint of stoniness and a dab of earthiness (but only a dab).
Ok, maybe I am putting too much on this Clairette. It won't end strife in the world but it is an excellent, interesting white.
Clairette is not widely grown but it is not endangered. There is something like 200 acres planted in South Africa. Various areas in the Rhone Valley and Provence (France) use the grape in blends. There are around 7000 acres grown in France. It is allowed in Chateau neuf de Pape and is also used in Rhone sparklers Clairette de Die and Cremant de Die. The latter usually featuers more Clairette. There are also Clairette sparklers from Australia and South Africa.
When you read about this grape you will see the usual disparaging remarks made about grapes that are not among the half dozen or so deemed to be "good grapes for wine." You will read it is light, fruity and simple and, indeed, it can be that but it is not limited to that. This wine is fruity but it isn't super duper light. You will see the odd oft cut and pasted notion that it is low in acidity. This also CAN be true but isn't necessarily so. Most of the varietal versions I've had of this have had fairly high acidity and grapes used in sparkling wine generally feature high acidity. Jancis Robinson has a short (and to me) more accurate description of Clairette.