Do these exist in red?
- Musie Sep 26, 2012 06:30 PM
I'm curious to know if there is a red wine variety for Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Now, I'm aware of the rarely seen Roter Riesling, which is a red skinned variety of the grape, but does it produce a red or white wine?
I'm not necessarily looking for red wines to try, more so seeing if my two favoured whites also branch out to red, and if they did, who might make them.
Riesling and Gewurtztraminer are named for the varietal of grape from which they are pressed, so it comes down to the grapes themselves --
Riesling grapes are white, so there's no way you could have a red-tinted Riesling unless it were to be blended with something else.
Gewurtztraminer grapes can be a "rose" color (like a red grape at the supermarket" so it's possible that it could have a reddish tint, but it just doesn't have enough pigment on its own to produce a truly red wine.
There *are* some true reds produced in the Rhine region (uncommon, but they're there) -- they're produced from Dornfelder and Pinot Noir (called Spaetburgunder in Germany.
Pinots are very different in different regions. So try some from different parts of the world until you find what you like. To make a horrible generalization, the warmer the place - the thicker fruitier, spicier the wine will be, the cooler the place the wines will be lighter, more delicate, with perhaps more floral/herbal type notes.
Riesling is a very common name in the world of grape varieties. The most common (and best) is what most of us think of when we think of Riesling, and that is White Riesling -- the fabled grape of Germany, Alsace and elsewhere. White Riesling has dozens of synonyms, but it is all the same grape.
But there are several other grape varieties which have the word "riesling" as a part of their name. These include Welschriesling (aka Riesling Italico, but not really Riesling at all); Schwarzriesling (Black Riesling, which is grown in southern Germany, but is really the Pinot Meunier variety of Champagne); Cape Riesling (grown in South Africa, but really the French grape Crouchen); and Gray Riesling, which was VERY popular in California in the 1960s but is actually Trousseau Gris.
Roter Riesling is not really red. Yes, the skin is tinted, but not very much and it's still a white wine. Even with lots of skin contact, you'd get a rosé-like wine . . . and a lot of tannin.
This is exactly what happened when Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma, California made "Rosa," a Gewürztraminer, in the 1970s. Gewürztraminer has multiple clones, and most "regular" Gewürztraminer clones naturally have some pigment in the skin of the grapes. Sebastiani used to -- why, I have no idea -- ferment a small amount of Gewürztraminer on the skins, as if making a red. The result was a very light rosé-colored wine -- actually I *do* know why: they were trying to capitalize on the "blush wine" craze of the early 1970s -- which was very tannin and rather unpleasant.
Bottom line: Riesling and Gewurztraminer are WHITE varieties, and while clonal mutations MAY result in grapes with some pigment in the skins, it's not enough to actually produce a RED wine.