Welschriesling is a green grape with an unclear origin. In several countries it is better known as Graševina.
In favour of this variety is its ability to retain high levels of acidity also when grown in a warm climate. However, as it is a low aromatic grape, the dry varietals tend to be quite uninteresting. It is therefore often used for blending with other varieties, such as Chardonnay and Smederevka, the local synonym for the Bulgarian variety Dimyat. The wines are fruity and flowery but apart from citrus, flavours are a bit difficult to distinguish.
The best wine will come from Welchriesling grapes that have been left for late harvest under conditions where they can pick up the Botrytis Cenera fungus and be used for producing sweet wine. This is valid not only the Austrian Trockenbeerenauslese. You will find this kind of sweet wine in most of the countries where Welschriesling is grown. It can then for example be called Selected harvest.
If you are in Croatia on a warm Summer day, it will be very nice with a glass of Gemišt, a mix of Welschriesling and sparkling water. Serve it will chilled.
If you’re having a dry varietal or blended Welschriesling, sea food is a wonderful paring thanks to the high acidity. It will be even better if the food is a bit salty. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
If you will go for a sweet, botrytised Welschriesling wine, a lemon cake is a wonderful companion. The wine is best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F.
Where is it grown?
In the statistics, Welschriesling is reported as Graševina. Worldwide, it is the fifteenth most planted grape with an acreage of 61.200 ha/151,227 ac, corresponding to a decrease of six percent in ten years.
There’s no doubt that this is a major variety in Eastern Europe, with more than ninety-three percent of the plantings reported from there. It is furthermore the most planted or second most planted grape in five of those countries, in spite of decrease in acreage in all countries (!) but Serbia.
The leading country is Serbia, which is reported to have more half of the worlds planting. The majority is found in the area around Stalać, south-east of Belgrade. It is an important variety for Serbian wine production, indicated by its PTPA value (48%).
In Romania, it is planted in all regions, with more than half found in the region Sud-Est.
In Croatia, eighty-five percent are found in the regions Podunavlje and Slavonija in the country’s south-east, bordering to Serbia’s north-west.
- Serbia 33.120 ha/81,840 ac, MPG 1, PTPA 48%
- Romania 7.530 ha/18,607 ac (a decrease of 50%), MPG 6, PTPA 4%
- Croatia 4.701 ha/11,616 ac (a decrease of 71%), MPG 1, PTPA 23%
- Hungary 4.664 ha/11,526 ac (a decrease of 30%), MPG 2, PTPA 7%
- Austria 3.462 ha/8,555 ac (a decrease of 20%), MPG 3, PTPA 8%
- Slovenia 2.360 ha/5,832 ac (a decrease of 34%), MPG 1, PTPA 14%
- Slovakia 1.655 ha/4,091 ac (a decrease of 57%), MPG 2, PTPA 13%
- Italy 1.568 ha/3,875 ac (a decrease of 22%), MPG 55, PTPA 0,3%
- Czech Republic 1.148 ha/2,837 ac (a decrease of 8%), MPG 6, PTPA 7%
- Spain 791 ha/1,955 ac (a decrease of 59%), MPG 55, PTPA 0,1%
- Brazil 200 ha/495 ac (a decrease of 77%), MPG 20, PTPA 0,4%
Plantings reported from Bulgaria in 2000 are no longer in the statistics of 2010.
There are several suggestions as to where Welchriesling has originated. The most plausible place is in the Balkans, in the area of south-eastern Croatia and Serbia.
It is an old variety which also is indicated by the large number of synonyms, e.g. more than seventy-five.