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.
The Eyholzer Roter grape, also known as Hibou, is grown around Visp and in the village of Eyholz just to the west of Visp. It is extraordinarily rare with only 0.25 hectares left worldwide of which the only commercially available wine comes from the vineyards of Josef-Marie Chanton. This ancient variety has in the past, also been grown in Savoie in France and in northern Italy. The traditional method of growing the grape in Valais is to train it on pergolas. This wine is a medium red with a nose of mountain violets and raspberries. Soft and fruity on the palate, it is best served slightly chilled, as one would a young Beaujolais.
DNA testing has been unable to identify the parents of Eyholzer Roter.
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.