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« WBW#11: ...And We're Off! | Main | WBW#11: By the Numbers »

06 July 2005

Scheurebe: An WBW#11 Editorial

(Editor's note -- From occasional Basic Juice author, the WineGoddess)

True off-dry wine is hard to come by. Common wine sense says that it comes right after dry, but then what is dry? I searched too many textbooks for an answer, and ended up with an off-dreadful headache. According to Jancis [Robinson], dry wine contains less than 10 g/L of residual sugar (the sugar left over after fermentation). However, wines with higher RS can still taste dry if there’s lots of acidity, and wines with less RS can taste sweet if there’s lots of alcohol. So I threw out the textbooks and resorted to my tongue’s test for off-dry: a little prickle of sweetness, but not enough for chocolate cake.

I immediately thought of Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat, all of which are dear to my heart and do well in slightly sweet styles. But then I remembered the Pfalz’s little secret: Scheurebe.

Scheu-who? Scheurebe (SHOY-ray-bah). Oh, how I love this grape! A crossing between Riesling and Silvaner, this fun-to-say grape makes racy wines similar in style to Riesling, but with a bit more fatness, and a little less longevity. It can achieve high ripeness levels and does best in the relatively warm Pfalz region of Germany, which is where today’s pick comes from:

Pfeffingen 2002 Scheurebe Spätlese Ungsteiner Herrenberg

PfeffNow the digestible version:    

  • Pfeffingen - the producer
  • Scheurebe - the grape
  • Spätlese - the ripeness level of the grape
  • Ungsteiner Herrenberg - the vineyard

A pretty medium gold color. Inviting floral aroma with scents of exotic fruits and honey. Medium-bodied with mouth-coating viscosity, this wine makes the tip of your tongue tingle, indicating some sweetness. But there’s crisp acidity here, making the wine taste fresh and lively. Juicy tropical and stone fruits, spice, honey, and a salty (?) grapefruit quality that tells you this is not Riesling. Flavors linger long on the palate, and with only 10.5% alcohol, you beg for another sip…The Pfeffingen website ( recommends their Scheurebe with cow’s milk cheeses such as Camembert and Cantal, but I like to savor it by itself (and myself), or with spicy Thai food. The wine runs about $22 and is imported by Rudi Wiest Selections.


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