Wines : White wine varieties
The Riesling is the grape typical for Germany and is the source of the finest white wines throughout the world. It is the predominant variety in Germany, being cultivated on a total area of 22,400 hectares (56,000 US acres). Its small and late-maturing grapes place high demands on its vineyards. It strongly reflects the diversity of soil and the individual microclimates ('terroir'). Its wines are always full of finesse and they age well. Grown on soils rich in minerals such as slate, granite and basalt, Riesling wines taste of citrus fruit or have a flinty and - with increasing age - a petrol tone. They usually preserve a light and racy character. Lime soil and coloured sandstone on the other hand produce Riesling wines of fine fruitiness (peaches, apricots and tropical fruits) with more body and a fine acidity.
Weißburgunder (White Burgundy)
This variety, internationally known as Pinot Blanc, is a white mutation of the Burgundy family. It produces elegant white wines with a delicate aroma of pineapple and apricot and a mild acidity. The well-balanced, harmonious, often full-bodied wines are an ideal companion for food of any kind.
As a single variety, the Sauvignon can be found as 'Sancerre' and as 'Pouilly Fumé' along the river Loire. More recently it has also been grown in New Zealand. Together with the 'Semillon' variety it produces the renowned and naturally-sweet 'Sauternes' wines in France. In Austria it is known as 'Muskat-Silvaner' and in the New World it is often called 'Fumé Blanc'. In line with all these synonyms it produces wines of intense fragrance with a spicy aroma evocative of flintstone, gooseberry and green fruit, and is always harmonious in its acidity.
This bouquet-variety with an intense fragrance of roses and marked spiciness is cultivated as a speciality in the Palatinate. The 'Pfälzer Traminer' wines have quite often excelled in international Traminer contests, thus also having friends outside their home region of Tramin (in South Tyrol). The full-bodied wines with an often spicy finish and a very mild acidity are wines for wine lovers par excellence.
This new white grape was first cultivated in 1991 by the viticulturist Valentin Blattner in the Swiss Jura mountains under the synonym VB-91-26-1. It is an interspecific cross between the Cabernet Sauvignon grape and fungi-resistant partners. According to Jancis Robinson: "...possibly a Cabernet Sauvignon x (Silvaner x (Riesling x Vitis vinifera) x (JS 12471 x Chancellor) complex hybrid..." from Jancis Robinson: Wine grapes, Penguin 2012, p. 148).
This grape, which is currently being trialled, belongs to the so-called fungi-resistant grape varieties in Germany. Selection and propagation take place at the Freytag vine nursery in the Palatinate, www.rebschule-freytag.de.
Its scent is reminiscent of the Sauvignon Blanc grape but with clearly much greener aromas. Even its taste is similar to that of Sauvignon Blanc or even Riesling wines.
Pictures: Rebschule Freytag