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Surprise of the Wöschmeisterschaft

This 1986 Welschriesling ‘leicht’ from Sattlerhof was one of my surprises from the weekend when I judged Styria’s ‘Wöschmeisterschaft’, a competition all about Welschriesling. With around 3300 hectares, Welschriesling is the second most important white grape variety after Grüner Veltliner in Austria. The spectrum ranges from simple drinking wines to first-class single-site wines and also sensational sweet wines.

The origin of the grape variety has not yet been fully explored. Some researchers assume that it comes from Croatia, called Grasevina, many others mention northern Italy, where it is called Riesling Italico. However, the grape variety has nothing to do with Rhine Riesling but is somewhat related to Elbling, one of the oldest grape varieties in Europe. A characteristic of Welschriesling is its high acidity. Many wines also have typical aromas of green apple and citrus.

The 1986 Welschriesling ‘leicht’ from the Sattlerhof shows how excellently the grape variety can mature. Even though it is not a single-vineyard wine, this ‘Welsch’ is still a lot of fun after 35 years. “Leicht” translates as “light”. That describes it to the point here. The wine has less than 10% alcohol, is incredibly fresh and precise. Lime, lemon balm, quince, hay flowers in the nose and on the palate. Medium length and a mineral finish, which is probably also due to a good dose of SO2 at bottling in these days.