Mar 3, 2016

100th anniversary of the Scheurebe

Let’s go back, way back, back in 1916. We are looking over the shoulder of Dr. Georg Scheu, who is breeding vines at the regional office of winegrowers in Alzey, in the German wine region Palatinate. He is working as a viticulturalist, cultivating seedlings of vitis vinifera, to create new noble grapes. Indeed he is already known for the creation of many crossbred grape varieties. Somewhen in 1916 Georg planted the seedling number 88 of a hybrid and this one should become his heritage.

A flat rounded wine bottle, called Bocksbeutel, of Scheurebe. A noble grape of Germany.
A Bocksbeutel of Scheurebe from Franconia
This grape gathered the best of both of its parents, the Riesling and the Bukettraube. Wines made of this grape have a distinctive aroma (German: Bukett) of one of the parents and the racy acidity of the other one. The new grape variety is named for his discoverer Scheurebe (“rebe” means in German “vine”).

Today, one hundred years later, the Scheurebe is under the Top 10 of the white grape varieties in Germany. It also plays a role in Austria where it still is called Sämling 88 (Seedling 88), because of the 88th seedling Georg Scheu planted back then.

Scheurebe is the German answer to the Sauvignon Blanc. Usually highly aromatic, dominated by rich blackcurrant aromas supplemented with grapefruit, gooseberry and elderflower. Well-made wines of the Scheurebe are full-bodied. Often they are produced semidry, so they have some residual sugar, which compliments quite well the flavors.

The Scheurebe, I had in my glass, was from the German wine region Franconia, you could recognize this by the shape of the bottle, called Bocksbeutel. This one is from a town called Sommerach on the Isle of Wine, a lovely piece of land completely surrounded by the River Main.

Let’s praise Georg Scheu for this great breeding 100 years ago!