Welschriesling is an ancient variety of white wine grape that is unrelated to the Rhine Riesling. It is grown throughout Central Europe, particularly in Austria, Hungary and Croatia. A really versatile variety, a wide range of wines can be produced from it: from fresh and fruity techno-wines to full-bodied, rich great wines that show the characteristics of the given terroir. Also some late harvest dessert wines are made from the grape which can be aged for a few years and are much richer.
Welschriesling is an ancient grape of uncertain origin. The German name "Welschriesling" literally means 'Romanic Riesling', and most of the synonyms in Central Europe are variations on 'Italian Riesling'. It might have come to Central Europe via the Romans, the Croatian name Graševina
suggests that the origin might be somewhere to the east of the Balkans.
Distribution and Wines
the main regions it is grown in are south and south eastern Styria
, and Weinviertel
where it is made into sparkling wine
. Near Lake Neusiedl
, in Rust
(Ruszt) it is used to make Botrytis dessert wines
"Graševina" is the most planted white grape variety in Croatia. It is grown in all the inland wine regions, particularly in Kutjevo
municipality and around Ilok
, both in the far east of the country. When yields are controlled it produces floral and zesty wines with a pleasant bitter aftertaste.
"Olaszrizlng" (the Hungarian name of Welschrielsing) is grown throughout Hungary
. In fact, it is the most widespread grape variety of the country.
The best sites are in Badacsony
and Szent György-hegy
It is known as Riesling Italico when grown in the northern regions of Italy
such as Trentino, Collio and Friuli.
It is also grown in Romania
where it makes a late harvest wine and sparkling wine.
It is also grown in Slovakia, e.g. in the Modra and Nitra wine regions.
In Slovenia, Welschriesling is known as laški rizling
("Italian Riesling") as opposed to renski rizling
("Rhine Riesling", i.e. Riesling proper). It is grown in the Styria region in eastern Slovenia, producing dry to medium-dry wines.
Vine and Viticulture
It is a really diverse variety, really good to show the difference between terroirs. When the yield is high (100 hL/ha), the quality is moderate, but with moderate (50 hL/ha) or low (30 hL/ha) yield world-class whites can be produced.
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