The Rare Scheurebe Grape

Ripe, Sweet & Rare                                                              by Tim Turnstone

The Scheurebe (pronounced "shoy ray beh")  grape variety was developed in Germany as a cross of the Riesling and Sylvaner varieties. Some recent research disputes this and it may be a cross of a hybrid of Sylvaner and a yet to be identified wild grape varietal.

Unlike many Riesling crosses it retains quite a bit of Riesling character, although it is less acidic and a bit sweeter.  However to produce good wine it must be very ripe, unlike Riesling which produces good wines when less ripe. It is also susceptible to Botrytis, producing rich viscous dessert wines. 

Scheurebe makes wines that are crisp due to its high acidity, very aromatic and are very fruity. Wines made from Scheurebe are often described as having a hint of blackberries. It is grown almost exclusively in Germany and represents less than 5% of the vines there. Small blocks of Scheurebe can be found in Napa Valley, Virginia, southern Ontario and on a very small scale in British Columbia.

Scheurebe ripens in early October, but the late-harvested wines of this grape are those that are treasured most. Scheurebe wines have full body, pronounced acidity and a bouquet and taste reminiscent of black currants. Scheurebe is most widely planted in the Pfalz, Rheinhessen and Nahe regions.