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Gwäss (Gouais Blanc) - Blaufränkisch - Cabernet Sauvignon - Blauer Portugieser - Weingut Christian Fischer

Gwäss (Gouais Blanc) - Blaufränkisch - Cabernet Sauvignon - Blauer Portugieser - Weingut Christian Fischer

Gwäss, or Gouais Blanc, can easily be called the ancestral Casanova grape. It is one of a few grape varieties that seem to appear in the family or just about every interesting variety out there. And until not that long ago, it'd been lost. And it was rescue, as these things go, by stubborn Swiss mountain winemakers.
Blaufränkisch is considered by many to be the most impressive Austrian red grape. A dark-berried variety which produces wines of real character, which are deeply fruity with fine acidity, good tannins and with typical flavours of liquorice and dark berries.
We have superb examples of Cabernet Sauvignon from Switzerland, Austria, Italy and some incredible top-end wines from Israel.
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.
Sooss, Thermenregion
Christian Fischer is widely regarded as one of Austria’s top red wine makers. He grows a mixture of indigenous and international grape varieties and the internationals are often cited as outstanding examples of how Austria can excel at these.

Perhaps best known within Austria is his 'Gradenthal', a blend of mainly Zweigelt with some Cabernet Sauvignon and a little Merlot.
For me it is the single variety Blauer Portugieser, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent and Zweigelt that really shine, especially the '100 Cases' no compromise wines which he makes in exceptional years.
But it's really all good at Fischer's

Gwäss is indeed a rare grape. In 1994 a mere 1.35 hectares were cultivated commercially in the Valais. Gwäss is the name given in Haut-Valais, Switzerland, for Gouais Blanc, also known as Président in France. Confusingly, it has a second Valasian name – Noir Valais.

Light yellow in colour, it has a lemon scented nose with grapefruit and green apple on the palate with some herbal notes and potentially high levels of acidity. It can age very well and the maturity acts to soften the acidity. Chanton’s 1991 is a particularly good example. Unfortunately, you will have to visit their vineyard to beg a sample!

Gwäss is a white grape variety that is believed to have originated in Croatia and which is important as the ancestor of many modern French and German wine varieties. This may have been the grape given to the Gauls by Probus (Roman Emperor 276-282), who overturned Domitian's decree banning grape growing north of the Alps. By the Middle Ages it was the most widely grown white grape in north east France and in central Europe. Gouais blanc was the grape of the peasantry - indeed the name Gouais derives from the old French ‘gou’, a term of derision befitting its traditional status as the grape of the peasants. Normally growing on flat land next to the better slopes where the nobility grew Pinot.

Having been widely grown in proximity to Pinot, the two varieties had many opportunities to cross and Gwäss is the parent to over eighty other varieties, the better known of which are modern day Chardonnay, Aligoté, Auxerrois, Gamay, Colombard and Riesling. The name Gwäss was first recorded in 1823. It's a vigorous high-yielding variety and traditionally produced wines with high acidity. Some stories tell that the Gwäss vines were planted around the edges of fields with other vines to protect them from thieves, the grapes being so acidic it put them off!

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OUR WINES ARE CHOSEN PERSONALLY ONE BY ONE.

  • Each wine will bring something distinctive to your table.
  • Even the rarities are chosen for your drinking pleasure first.
  • From the winemakers they love most back in their home country.
  • You should feel safe discovering our wines so we guarantee them (see FAQs).
  • No constraint: No minimum order. Buy just what you want, whether a single bottle or thirty

The Best Hunnish Grape

The name Blaufränkisch comes from the Middle Ages & the late Holy Roman Empire. Back then it was fashionable to think that everything good came from the original emperor, Charlemagne, and everything lesser came from the local Germanic/Eastern stock. So everything was classified into "Frankisch" and "Hunnisch".

Blaufränkisch, being a much favoured grape, was declared "The Quintessential Frankisch Wine".

It was of course, an early example of marketing, as ironically, DNA analysis has proven it was very much a local hunnish grape.

PS: In Germanic traditions the grapes are named on what colour they look like when ripe, rather than the colour of the wine they make. Hence most of the red wine grapes are called "blue", as they look blueish in the vineyard. In French traditions, they use the same logic and call the red grapes "black" (if you wipe the blue grape clean, it is black underneath).

Lineage

It is not known precisely where Blaufränkisch originated, but through DNA profiling it can be narrowed down to Austria, Hungary or Dalmatia.

Blaufränkisch is a child of Gwäss and a parent of Zweigelt and Blauer Portugieser amongst others. It has a seriously good lineage (juiceline?).

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.

OUR WINES ARE CHOSEN PERSONALLY ONE BY ONE.

  • Each wine will bring something distinctive to your table.
  • Even the rarities are chosen for your drinking pleasure first.
  • From the winemakers they love most back in their home country.
  • You should feel safe discovering our wines so we guarantee them (see FAQs).
  • No constraint: No minimum order. Buy just what you want, whether a single bottle or thirty
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