What is Scheurebe?
2016 Geil, Bechtheimer Scheurebe Kabinett, Rheinhessen, Germany
So, what is Scheurebe? The first time I heard of the grape Scheurebe, I was in a class led by a passionate wine importer Terry Theise. He declared it a personal favorite. After that tasting, it also became one of mine. Scheurebe is the product of a 20th-century experimental cross between Riesling and Sylvaner. The goal, to create a grape best suited for the terroir of the Rheinhessen (and other regions). As it turns out, the Riesling’s DNA is definitely there, but the grape thought to be Sylvaner is yet unidentified. Nevertheless, Scheurebe (shoo’-ray-bay) – lovingly referred to as Scheu (shoo) by wine geeks – is here to stay and the wine world is a better place for it!
Scheurebe, which grows mainly in Germany and Austria, is slightly less acidic than Riesling. It is quite aromatic, and can be made in a wide range of styles from bone dry to sweet. It also ages well – a chip off the old Riesling block. Flavor-wise, most Scheurebe shows deep citrus flavors, some earthy berry fruit, and floral honeysuckle.
Like most Rieslings, Scheurebe can be categorized as a Pradikatswein. That’s a six level scale from Kabinett to Trockenbeerenauslese and eiswein. They are graded according to their level of sweetness. Kabinett is the most dry of the bunch, with no more than 188 grams per liter of residual sugar (versus 260+ for the sweetest wines).
About this Wine
Though palest yellow in color, this wine is an aromatic explosion of flowers. Jasmine, honeysuckle, pink roses, and a touch of chamomile. On the palate, it was even more tantalizing with flavors of lychee, ginger, sweet grapefruit, and cassis. Lively acidity keeps this off-dry wine from seeming sweet. The finish is opulent with exotic fruit and floral notes.
Because it is slightly off-dry, crisp, and so very aromatic, this wine is a perfect go-to for so many delicious foods. Especially, with a bit of spicy heat – be that a Vietnamese pho with bright green aromatics and a healthy burst of fresh chiles. Or, a rich warming curry with heat that builds from deep within. Not one for spicy? That same sweetness that cools, also makes this a perfect match for ripe fruits or ripe stinky cheeses. Also, try it with umami-forward Japanese dishes.
I don’t drink as much Scheurebe as I’d like, so when I find one, I’m excited about it. The aforementioned Terry Theise happens to be the importer of this wine, so I trust that if he likes it that much, it must be one of the best. At under $20/bottle its a good value for those who are new to this delectable grape, as well as for those whose hearts are already won.
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