From: Valais, Switzerland
Taste: The wine has notes of infused flowers, laurel leaf, a hint of vanilla bean, lemon curd and lemon pith over a base of cool orchard fruits and almonds. It exhibits good vinosity (aka, it ‘drinks well’) and a voluptuous mouthfeel. The pleasant bitterness of almonds lingers, while the fattiness of the wine (promise, it’s a positive thing) balances out any lingering bitter notes on the finish.
Pairing: “Due to its freshness and gentle bitterness, it's the perfect companion for salads, tapas, shellfish and grilled fishes,” says Fritsch (Wine Mag). “[It's] a real picnic wine.” Sylvaner's delicateness, however, means that pairing with bolder flavors, like Sockeye salmon, should be avoided. With that recommendation, we’re sharing a recipe for Prawn, cod and mussel ragu by Dominic Smith. It’ll yield 4 servings, and should be fairly easy to make!
From Jancis Robinson: "It seems almost incredible today that Germany's most popular vine variety in the early 20th century was Silvaner. (It took over that position from Elbling and passed on the crown to the thoroughly undeserving Müller-Thurgau.) Today it is only the fifth most planted variety, being a long way behind the two most planted white wine grapes Riesling and Müller Thurgau and having been overtaken recently by both Spätburgunder and even Dornfelder, so popular are red wines today in Germany.
It is easy to dismiss Silvaner as producing rather boring, neutral dry white wine, but that would show a very superficial acquaintance with this historic grape variety. Its introduction to the historic wine estate of Castell in Franken from Austria is well documented although it was probably grown quite widely elsewhere in what is now Germany in the Middle Ages.
Thanks to DNA profiling in Austria we now know that Silvaner's parents were Savagnin/Traminer and a now-obscure Austrian light-berried variety that looks very like Silvaner and is known as Österreichisch Weiss. Its origins therefore seem to be Central European. It is hardly grown in Austria today but is relatively common in the Czech Republic where it is known as Sylvánské Zelené and in Slovenia where it is called Zeleni Silvanec – all of these being local variations on its other name in German, Grüner Silvaner, or green Silvaner."
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