Originating from Austria, Sylvaner is one of their oldest indigenous grapes. A natural cross between Traminer and Österreichisch Weiss (Austrian white), Sylvaner tends to reflect its terroir, producing incredibly diverse wines that can range from being subtle and neutral to powerful and full-bodied. Sylvaner is traditionally bottled in Bocksbeutel bottles, which are squat green or brown vessels with a round body and short neck. Known for its notes of peach, passion fruit, orange blossom, and thyme, Sylvaner pairs well with Asian fare, onion tarts, and seafood.
Although Austria is Sylvaner’s home country, Austria only has about 23 hectares dedicated to the grape, as it has low resistance to winter frost and is highly susceptible to fungal vine diseases and botrytis. Instead, it is Germany who produces the most Sylvaner in the world, with vines spread across 5,000 hectares, which accounts for 70% of Sylvaner’s total vine area in the world. Brought to Germany in the mid-17th century, Sylvaner, also known as Silvaner in Germany, was once their most planted grape and remained so for 300 years. Now, it is Germany’s 7th most popular grape, thriving in the terroirs known as the "great Triassic trio," which are colored sandstone, shell limestone, and colored marl.
Looking to indulge? Here are some wines to try:
Grape Photo Credit: Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof - 76833 Siebeldingen, GERMANY