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Welschriesling - Zweigelt

Welschriesling - Zweigelt

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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What to Expect

The wines tend to be a lovely deep ruby colour and the nose is almost physically chewable with lingering black fruits, combining with sweet tones of treacle and caramel and a hint of stewed prunes in the background. Absolutely gorgeous.

On tasting, it is a surprise to find that it is typically lighter in the body than the nose suggested. Flavours of black fruits, especially cherry, come through with hints of plum in the background. Some Zweigelt will give a lot of spice, especially cinnamon. The length of this wine can be astonishing.

Lineage

Zweigelt is named after its creator, Dr Zweigelt, who crossed St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch in 1922 at the research centre in Klosterneuburg. Whilst crossing two great grapes does not guarantee a greater, this comes pretty close. Both parents are used to making beautiful wine and the child is too.

It was originally named Rotburger and in places is still known by that synonym today. However that can be very confusing as there is another grape, totally unrelated, called Rotberger.

Knowing the parentage of Zweigelt, it is clear that it is the grandchild of both Gouais Blanc and Pinot, making it part of serious grape royalty. It is also a parent of Roesler, also created in Klosterneuburg, an up-and-coming red grape in Austria.

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