The Scheurebe is a recent white grape variety in the German wine world, being invested as recently as the early 1900’s.
It is most commonly produced as a varietal white variety that may be anywhere from being bone dry to being lusciously sweet on the flavour meter.
It is also one of the most popular wines grown in Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and the US, making it a purely Germanic variety.
Some 5% of production is also recorded from US with almost 29% coming from Austria.
Historically introduced in the early 1900s, the grape was only locally produced till the 1950’s, when it gained attention from the wine industry to win favour and start producing beverages.
Back then, it was known as Samling 88, meaning ‘Seedling 88’, a very abstract term.
When fully produced, the variety produces some high yielding grapes with acidity comparable to the Riesling grape.
Being very aromatic, the grape can at the same time, be very unpleasant if picked early.
He found the grape by crossing Riesling with a wild vine that remains unknown to this day.
Dr. Scheu’s purpose was to invent a vine that was stronger than Silvaner in resisting against deadly winter season hazards like frost damage and chlorosis, while retaining the aromas and flavours of Riesling.
For much of the 20th century, it was believed that the cross was actually between Riesling and Silvaner that got debunked in the following decades when DNA analysis showed the cross being that of a wild vine and Riesling.
Further DNA analysis ruled out Silvaner as the parent of Scheurebe while Riesling came out to be its father.
The other parent was considered as a wild vine that has not ben named yet, since the doctor was himself working on wild varieties and a misidentification took place between the crosses.
After a successful cross, the variety was nicknamed Samling 88 that translates to ‘seedling 88’.
The grape would only see commercial wine production in the 1950s, years after Dr. Scheu’s death when it got renamed to the Scheurebe variety as a tribute to its founder.
Ever since its inception, the Scheurebe has gained massive popularity in the Germanic community.
It is now produced in almost all of the northern and central European German nations of Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
In Germany alone, some 4,400 acres of vineyards were committed towards Scheurebe’s production.
Surprisingly, the acreage of this variety has been slowly but steadily been declining since the 1980s probably because of people’s higher preference towards drier wines, that on the counter side, Scheurebe is characterized as a sweet vine.
Despite the declining figures, some vineyards in the Palatinate have reintroduced the variety after several years of stopping Scheurebe’s production.
In Austria, the regions of Burgenland and Styria produce the bulk of Scheurebe production, although it is much smaller as compared to Germany.
Here, however, the variety is used to make some very sweet wines and winemakers actually allow certain factors like the noble rot to produce concentrated Trockenbeerenlauslesen, also including Alois Kracher to some percentage.
The Scheurebe, as a Germanic invention, is naturally suited to the area’s cold climate. It is a sturdy vine that got its strong elements from the wine vine Dr. Scheu used during his crossing and if possible, requires soil with some limestone percentage.
When fully ripe, the vine provides dense, medium sized, cylindrical grape clusters with medium sized grapes.
Their color is recognized by a yellow-green shade that has a nutmeg kind of nuance when eaten in raw form.
Only fully ripe grapes are capable to produce wines, since the unripe ones give off a very unpleasant character to it while the aromas associated with Scheurebeget destroyed.
The grape is very resistant to certain frost hazards.
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