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Diolinoir - Blauer Portugieser
For most winemakers in Austria, Blauer Portugieser is a filler, grape, used in blends or for house wines.
We don't buy these, we buy from people who give the grape the same attention as the more popular grapes and make delicious wines. Like a lot of "neglected" grapes, it is simply lack of attention in planting or winemaking that makes so many of the wines simple. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Blauer Portugieser vines give prolific yields and has low acidity. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Portugieser wines were meant to be drunk in their youth and considered not suited to long-term cellaring. And - no surprise here - just as Swiss Chasselas there's no reason they cannot age magnificently with proper winemaking, or make truly impressive wines.
A medium ruby colour with a fruity, grape juice kind of nose. There are also some aromas of plum and red cherry. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with low tannins and with moderately low acidity. On the palate, it tastes of grape with some cherry and raspberry fruit. Very smooth.
Diolinoir originates from the Caudoz research centre in Switzerland thanks to André Jaquinet in 1970. Although created as a blending grape to improve the colour of some Swiss wine, as often happens once the vines reach a reasonable age much more can be done with the variety than initially expected. There are now some fantastic examples of Diolinoir on its own. In the Valais this produces a fine and quite powerful wine, usually barrel aged, and it is also increasingly planted in Lavaux and further afield. It is also seeing increased use in some of Switzerland's top-end blends because of its good colour, structure and balance.
Excellent deep colour, good tannins and quite a bit of power. Expect cherry and black fruits, particularly blackberry, a hint of strawberry with some spice and earthiness. In terms of flavour, the variety bears some resemblence to a very concentrated (low yield) Pinot Noir or a cool-climate Sankt Laurent. If you are a fan of crazy mixed-metaphores it is a bit like a Pinot Noir raised by a pack of wild Cabernet Sauvignon.
A Swiss grape born and bred, Diolinoir is a cross between Robin Noir (sometimes known as Rouge de Diolly) and Pinot Noir, taking its name from its parents.
Although popular for its generous harvests, the variety has poor disease resistance (mildew and grey rot are a particular concern) and requires careful maintenance in the vineyard to make good wine.
Despite the suggestion of the grape's name of having a Portuguese origin, ampelographers have uncovered little evidence to suggest that this is the case. It is often said that the Austrian, Johann von Fries, brought it from Oporto to his estates near Voslau in 1772. Until recently and for that reason, it was called Kékoportó in Hungary. There is evidence to indicate that by the 19th century, the grape was widely established in Austria and that it was then that cuttings were brought to Germany.