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Cape Riesling grapes

by Dec 12, 20160 comments

Cape Riesling is one white wine grape variety which is abundantly planted and produced in the region of South Africa and Australia.

Cape Riesling

This grape variety is believed to be originated in the western Pyrenees region of France, but today the existence of this grape in France has become extinct.

The reason behind it is the high susceptibility of this grape to a number of fungal diseases, especially downy and powdery mildew. This variety of white wine grape is very obscure and is commercially produced in a number of regions of Australia as well as South Africa today.

This grape is used in both blending as well as varietal forms in the production of the most flavorful wines that are enjoyed by the local wine-lovers at large.

This grape when blended with other kinds of expressive grapes produces various fruity and light wines which are mostly semi-sweet. Though it is used in both its forms, yet the blended version of Cape Riesling is mostly preferred by the experts because the neutral character of this grape fails to entertain all its characteristics when turned into a varietal wine.

This white wine grape is mostly blended with the expressive varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc as well as Riesling. As noted in the early years of the 1990s, the production of this white wine grape variety covered an area of 1000 acres throughout the regions of Australia.

Wine grape varieties

However, the numbers of the vines have been slowly declining over a past few years. In the Australian regions, this grape variety is mainly used as a blending variety in order to enhance the properties as well as aromas of all the white wines and to make them all the more pleasant.

On the contrary, this grapevine is still grown in abundance in various regions of South Africa. Today, this grape covers almost 3 percent of all the vineyards of South Africa, covering an area of more than 7900 acres respectively.

In South Africa, the plantation of this grape is mostly done in the regions of Paarl as well as Stellenbosch. Here Cape Riesling is simply termed as Riesling. According to some experts, the wines produced out of this grape variety entertain the capability of ageing and improving when poured into the bottles.

This grape variety is addressed by the world using a number of synonyms. The main synonyms of Cape Riesling include the names like Crouchen, Basque, Cheri Cerratia, Cougnet, Clare Riesling, Crouchen Blanc, Crochenta, Cruchen Blanc, Cruchen, Grand Blanc, Messanges Blanc, Paarl Riesling, Navarre Blanc, Riesling Vert, Sales Blanc, Zurizerratia, Trouchet Blanc and many others.

There have always been a number of confusions as to the origin of this grape variety and this variety of grape has often become the victim of identity crisis to the world.

In the year 1850, a shipment of this white wine grape variety arrived in the region of Clare Valley in Australia.

A photo posted by Jan Ham (@therovingrunner) on

This shipment was believed to be arriving from France. The Australians misunderstood this variety of white wine grape as Semillon and Riesling.

However, it was eventually considered by the people of Australia to be a grape variety called Cape Riesling. Further, in the year 1976, an ampelographer named Paul Truel personally and positively identified these vines grown in Australia as the Cape Riesling, a French variety.

Wines with Cape Riesling grapes


The grapes and berries of Cape Riesling are majorly used in all the wines to add a good level of aroma and to further make them all the more flavorful as to their taste.

The aromas that the grapes of Cape Riesling entertain are light and mild in nature. Also, these grapes embrace flavors similar to golden apples, fresh cut grass as well as citrus.

These flavors are further enhanced when these wines age well in their bottles. Because of its vulnerability to fungal diseases, this grapevine is barely found in the regions of France.

This variety of white wine grape is best used for a table wine production. It also tends to be a little steely and the wines produced out of this grape have the ability to develop a flavor similar to that of honey with a level of maturation.

Food pairing

The wines produced out of Cape Riesling taste the best when they are paired with the food items like spicy tacos, vegetable dumplings as well as paella.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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