Raisin Wine School
Major German grape varietals
Riesling – The most instantly recognisable grape in natures canon of vitis vinifera. Apple, pear, pink grapefruit and petrol are all trademarks of this most noble of grapes. The petroleum aroma often associated with Riesling comes from the Carotenoid compound when it begins to break down in the ripening of the grape releasing it’s floral scents.
Muller-Thurgau – So named after Professor Hermann Muller who developed this grape at the Geisenheim Institute in 1882. This is a marriage between Madeleine Royale x Riesling. Professor Muller came from a region in Switzerland called Thurgau hence how it received it’s name. The mainstay of the German wine industry during the 1980’s and 90’s.
Silvaner — The main varietal to found in the Franken region of Germany. Although we associate it more for Liebfraumilch, where it made up at least 65% of the blend. Originally found in Transylvania this variety has travelled Europe making it’s home in Alsace and Germany. A simple nose of honey dew melon, apple and fresh acidity make this an easy grape to blend with.
Kerner – A Trollinger (red varietal) x Riesling blend that was bred by August Herold in Wurttemberg. The flavour is very similar to Muscat with a delicious grapey nose and a red apple, pink grapefruit and rose water palate.
Scheurebe – A Riesling x Silvaner cross created by Dr Georg Scheu in 1916 when he was trying to create superior version of the already established silvaner against frost damage.
It is produces highly aromatic wines with a distinctive blackcurrant and citrus edge to them. Scheurebe is mainly used for sweet wine production.
Weissburgunder – The genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, Weissburgunder is also known as Pinot Blanc. Typical honeyed notes of quince and apple blossom. On the palate there are tones of mango, honeyed melon and citrus tinges.
Spatburgunder – Called Pinot Noir in France. This is one of the most important grape varietals in Germany right now, it would perhaps be the future of their wine industry. This differs slightly from it’s French sister whereby it is slightly softer with sumptuous strawberry, vanilla, cassis and a flourish of dark plum.
Portugeiser – Originally thought to have originated in Austria it was eventually taken to Germany in the early 1800’s. Portugeiser produces wines that are medium – full bodied with flavours of black pepper dusted strawberries, raspberries and plum.
Trollinger – This grape is from the Tyrol region in northern Italy where it is usually blended with other grapes. Trollinger produces a wine that is pale in colour with soft chalky tannins. The flavours are dominated by a rich strawberry and cherry note.
Dornfelder – A crossing between Heroldrebe and Helfensteiner in 1955 at the Wurttemberg institute. This is a thick skinned varietal that was once experimented with to create Germany’s answer to Beaujolais Nouveau. Dornfelder is easier to grow than Spatburgunder and is more resistant to disease.