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Sämling / Scheurebe - Blauer Portugieser

Sämling / Scheurebe - 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.

Scheurebe (shoy-ray-beh) is made into all styles of wine, from bone dry to absolute sweetness in Trockenbeerenauslese. The good dry wines have aromas of blackcurrant, peach and pear with notes of grapefruit and are worth looking out for. The good sweet wines are superb with grape and honey aromas. It does carry some of the characteristics of its known parent, Riesling. Scheurebe wines go very well with aromatic, spicy foods from appetizer to dessert.

“I don’t drink Riesling all the time, though I’d hardly mind doing so. Still, there are occasions when something more pagan is called for and that’s when I summon my guiltiest of wine pleasures - Scheurebe."

Scheurebe was created in 1916 by Dr Georg Scheu after whom it was eventually named, but didn’t get widely grown until the 1950's after it was discovered that it could produce some very good sweet wines.

Although German in origin, the grape has been planted elsewhere. In Austria it is often called Sämling or Sämling 88 as this was the seedling number given to it by Dr Scheu. It was named after him on its general release in 1945. It is most commonly grown in Germany and Austria but is also found in Switzerland and a couple of other countries.

Despite being a recent creation, all we know for certain about its parentage is that one parent is Riesling. The other is unknown.

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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.

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