Aramon or Aramon Noir is a red grape cultivated mainly in Languedoc Roussillon in southern France. Between the end of the 19th century and the 1960s, it was the most cultivated grape variety in France, with 214,000 hectares in the Herault département alone (almost twice as much as Bordeaux); however, it is an early-sprouting and late-ripening variety, and is therefore unsuitable in colder climates, proving very susceptible to frost. This is why Aramon plantations are in continuous decline. In 2010, there were only 10000 (scarce) hectares under vine in the country. Aramon is also bred in Algeria, Argentina and Chile, but never reaches the peaks reached in France. On the contrary, it proves to be very resistant to powdery mildew and downy mildew, a grape variety on which producers in warm areas could certainly rely heavily.
It is a generous grape with great productivity, whose yields can reach levels of up to 400 hectolitres per hectare. However, when harvested at very high yields, the resulting wines are pale red in colour, with a blue-black tinge, low in alcohol content and generally subtle in character.
Aramon often needs to be blended with more intensely coloured grapes such as Alicante Bouschet or Grand Noir de la Calmette. And it is also because of this need to be vinified with other grapes that it loses further appeal. Carignan, for example, is similar in flavour and yield, but much more loaded. When planted on poor soils and pruned severely to obtain much lower yields, it proved capable of giving concentrated wines with spicy, earthy, herbaceous and somewhat rustic character. Aramon now gives rise to extremely rare wines with great depth. Often juxtaposed with Villard Noir and Coderc, it has been amply demonstrated that this grape is not the result of a cross, although it is closely related to Gouais.
The most famous nicknames are Ugni Noir, Rabalairè and Ramonen.
We will also mention here, for the sake of the record, the Aramon Blanc and the Gris, which, however, have very few hectares under vine in the Herault, and it would be very interesting to try them