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Cereza grapes

Cereza is a grape variety from Argentina which is typically used in the production of white wines.

Just like the Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris varieties, Cereza is a pink skinned grape which produces low quality Argentine white wine.

Wine grape varieties
In fact this grape is so popular in Argentina, that it is the country’s most planted grape variety used not only for the production of white wines, but also the rosé wines.

Origin of Cereza grape

Cereza grape is a natural crossing between the grape varieties Muscat of Alexandria and Listan Negro (CriollaChica).

Harvesting grapes ??? #KatisMuscatGrape

A photo posted by Kati Jane (@theurbanladybug) on

This grape is extensively grown in the countries of Chile and Argentina, and is so popular due to large demand for the wines made from these grapes, despite being of a lower quality.

This variety derives its name from the word ‘cherry’ in Spain, although, Cereza grape variety is typically not much known for giving out distinctive flavours and aromas.

According to Martinez, Cereza grape variety might be related to the Criolla Grande family while Tapia feels that, this grape might be a close relative to the Criolla Mediana grape variety which is now not at all cultivated.

History of Cereza grape

Like the Criolla Grande grape variety or Pais or the Spanish Mission variety of grape, which are one of the most widely cultivated grape varieties of South and North America, ampelographers think that Cereza grape variety was introduced to the Argentine region by the early Spanish settlers.

In fact, it is believed that since the missionaries who panted both Liston Negro and Cereza, this grape came along with them.

Listan Negro was known as Pais in Chile and CriollaChica in Argentina and today, it is better known as the Californian alias Mission.

By the middle of the late twentieth century, Criolla, Pais and Cereza together accounted for a third of all the grape plantations of the world which were planted in South America.

The high yields which were given by this grape variety and the prolific nature of the vine contributed to this variety spreading at a breath neck pace to occupy close to 40,000 hectares or around 100,000 acres of land, back in the 1980s.

However, the number has been slowly and steadily declining and by the year 2003, the number of this grape dropped down to nearly a quarter i.e 30,760 hectares or 76,000 acres.

Regions where Cereza grape is grown

While this grape variety was one of the most widely planted varietals of grape in Argentina, today the production is on the decline and it is only found in San Juan province & eastern Mendoza region, and to a lesser extent in the region of Catamarca.

Wines with Cereza grapes

Vine and Viticulture of Cereza grape

After centuries and centuries of existence in Argentina, Cereza vine seems to have adapted well to the arid, hot condition of Argentine with irrigation being one of the major sources of water, while harvesting this grape variety crops.

Compared to the red skin variety of Criolla Grande, which, though related is quite different to Cereza, with Cereza having a noticeably lighter, and pink coloured skin with larger berries which contribute very little colour phenols during maceration.

This grape is quite vigorous and productive and has long, productive vegetal cycles.

Typically a late ripening variety, this grape typically grows in big, loose bunches of thick skinned large berries having irregular colouration.

Characteristics of Cereza grape

Cereza grape produces deep coloured white & rosé wines which are usually proposed for early consumption.

According to the wine expert Mr. Jancis Robinson, these wines appear fairly rustic and of a basic quality, specifically when the yields are very high (and they can sometimes be in excess of 200 hectoliters/ha).

This grape is also used in the production of grape concentrate, which is often used during winemaking.

This grape is also used in blends to produce jug wines.

Food pairings with Cereza grape wine

This wine typically offers very little taste and flavour and as a result of this, it needs to be paired with spicy and flavourful foods.

This wine goes well with salads which are dressed well like asparagus and herb salad, tacos with pepper sauces and cilantro etc.

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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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