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Welschriesling - Roter Traminer

Welschriesling - Roter Traminer

I would advise anyone who wants to delve deeply into the origins of grapes to look at ‘Wine Grapes’ by Jancis Robinson et al., the most authoritative tome on the subject. It did help my spinning head a little, but not much, as the Traminer/Savagnin family is more complex than the Ewings of Dallas. Roter Traminer is the same wine as Savagnin Rouge, related to the Gelber Traminer (Savagnin Blanc/Heida) and to Gewürztraminer. Roter Traminer is the predominant Traminer variety in Austria. It has low acidity and literally does smell (and taste) of roses along with dried fruit, marshmallows and citrus notes. In colour it ranges from intensely green to intensely yellow or even a glisten of red. When produced from ripe grapes, it produces wines with pronounced aromas that age well.

In the UK, Welschriesling (‘foreign riesling’) has had a hard time. It was one of the first easily available wines and was what many people thought was Riesling. In earlier days crimes against wine made of Riesling and Welschriesling were sold here. Things have changed for the better, not least our knowledge of grapes!

Dry wines from Welschriesling can be forgettable - we have picked ours from the best, but you can get very boring ones at a cafe terrace in Austria or Croatia.

The grape comes into its own in two areas. First as a base for some excellent sparkling wine and second, as some of the most delicious sweet wines that can be found. Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese from Welschriesling are wonderful as they retain much of the inherent acidity from the grape to create a sweet yet well-balanced wine.

Jancis Robinson, in her magnum opus ‘Wine Grapes’, made the decision to list this grape under its Croatian name, Graševina. Much points to Croatia being the birthplace of this grape despite other theories as to it's origins.

Do not let past mistakes colour your opinion. Try the sweet wines and you will soon become a fan.

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