Scheurebe <pronounced shoi-ray-ba> is a white grape variety originating from Germany. Just like its fellow German counterpart Siegerrebe, this aromatic grape comes from the crossing of two grape varieties. In the case of Scheurebe this is the noble Riesling and Bouquet Blanc (Bukettraube). Produced as sweet, dry and off-dry, its exquisitely tropical taste is one of the most interesting inventions of Dr Scheu, a famous winemaker from Germany.
The History of Scheurebe
In 1916, the German viticulturist Dr. Julius Georg Scheu (1879–1949) crossed Riesling with a wild vine grape, creating Scheurebe. The wild vine grape was first thought to be Silvaner. The argument here was that Dr. Scheu wanted to create a high-quality Silvaner by crossing it with Riesling. A premium quality Silvaner was well sought-after, as this grape variety is very resistant to frost and chlorosis.
By the 1990s as Scheurebe was DNA-tested, it became clear that Silvaner was not the second parent in the matrimony that birthed Scheurebe. Soon thereafter, Austrian researchers found that Scheurebe was a cross between Riesling and Bouquet Blanc – or Bukettraube as it is called locally.
Scheurebe is perhaps Germany’s most famous crossings. It is also one of the few works of the locally famous Dr Scheu that garnered international repute. This successful German wine grower contributed immensely to the country’s wine-making community. Apart from his two well-known crossings, Scheurebe and Siegerrebe, Dr Scheu is also known for helping German vine growers substantially improve their yield. He was also the one to discover the cause and transmission of several vine diseases, such as chlorosis and leafroll, that had destroyed many a wine harvest.
Scheurebe’s Many Names
With this complicated history, it’s perhaps no surprise that Scheurebe’s also has had its fair share of names: Sämling 88, Alzey S. 88, Dr. Wagnerrebe, Scheu 88, S-88, and Scheu Riesling. At first it was given the name Scheu’s Liebling. This was when Dr Scheu was still alive, and the winegrower refused the honor, perhaps out of humility. Instead, he insisted on naming it 88 or S-88. Fast forward a few years to the third Reich, and the variety was named after Dr. Richard Wagner, the state farmer leader of Hessen-Nassau. After the collapse of Nazi Germany, it was once again dubbed Sämling 88 (which it is still sometimes called). It got its final name – Scheurebe – first after Dr. Scheu’s death in a bid to honor this talented winemaker.
|dry to sweet
|blackcurrants, peach, ripe pear
|honey peach, passion fruit, ginger
Scheurebe Food Pairing
This brings us to food pairings. The sweetness range of Scheurebe wines offers some flexibility when pairing with food. Apart from the strawberries, sweeter Scheurebe wines pair well with desserts like apple donut and red-bean paste pancakes.
Scheurebe also pairs excellently with cheese and, like many sweeter German wines, with Asian cuisines. The refreshingly crisp taste on the palate and a lifted aromatic finish of the dry variety of this wine is a delight with lightly spicy oriental dishes like coconut-lime fish curry.
You do however need to be careful when pairing Scheurebe with Asian food. Opt for dishes with a lighter spice and sweetness, such as a kung-pao chicken, pad thai or massaman curry pairing. The subtle flavors of Scheurebe are not bold enough to counter the heavy nuances of very sweet or spicy Asian food, so you’re better off pairing with these lighter dishes.
This German white grape variety was created by crossing Riesling with another grape variety, just like Scheurebe. Most crossed grapes retain the characteristics of their parents. Müller-Thurgau is no different as it dubs some Riesling characteristics like the texture, refreshing acidity, and fruity notes. It is lighter and drier than Scheurebe and passes as a great alternative, especially when you’re after a wine to pair with vegetables and salads.
Riesling is an aromatic white grape variety known for its flowery notes and high acidity. It is a noble white grape and a parent to many fantastic grape varieties, including Scheurebe and Müller-Thurgau. Think of Riesling as the premium version of Scheurebe; a higher-quality alternative with mineral notes and a lighter taste.
Gewürtztraminer is also a white wine grape variety with a complex taste profile, like Scheurebe. It is quite aromatic, too, and can be paired similarly with spicy dishes. The acidity in Gewürtztraminer is slightly lower than in Scheurebe, so if you’re looking for a pairing to creamy dishes or a hearty pork loin, you’re best off with the latter.
Siegerrebe and Scheurebe have two things in common – Riesling parentage and a fuzzy history. They have similar characteristics (especially pronounced with the dry variety of both wines) like acidity, body, alcohol content, and fruity notes. Did I also mention that they both can be made into sweet, off-dry, and dry options? This means there is quite a bit of flexibility with the pairing of both of these. Siegerrebe also pairs well with spicy Asian dishes, and is somewhat less sweet than its Scheurebe sibling.
5. Pinot Gris
Also known as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is a dry white wine grape variety with brilliant acidity. It has a complex taste profile ranging from spicy notes of cinnamon and ginger to fruity hints of green apple and citrus fruits and is famed for its long lingering aftertaste on the palate.
Pinot Gris has bolder flavors compared to Scheurebe and is an excellent accompaniment to spicier Asian dishes. It’s a great wine to try with your next Chinese New Years dinner and lovely to enjoy on its own (making quite the catch at Berlin’s wine market stalls!)