Your Wine IQ


International Varieties: Chardonnay   Gewürztraminer   Muscat   Pinot Gris   Riesling   Sauvignon Blanc

Major Varieties:   Airén    Chenin Blanc    Grüner Veltliner    Müller-Thurgau    Pinot Blanc    Sémillon    Silvaner    Trebbiano    Viognier

Regional Varieties:   Albariño    Aligoté    Amigne    Arneis    Chasselas    Colombard    Cortese    Fiano    Grechetto    Grenache Blanc    Malvasia Istriana    Marsanne    Muscadelle    Muscat of Alexandria    Ortega    Palomino    Parellada    Petite Arvine    Prosecco    Rieslaner    Roussanne    Savagnin    Scheurebe    Seyval Blanc    Tocai Friulano    Torrontés    Vermentino    Welschriesling


A glass of Silvaner, poured from the traditional
Franconian wine bottle known as the Bocksbeutel.
Photo by Tomas er on Wikipedia.
License: Creative Commons SA 3.0 Unported.

Silvaner takes its place in a supporting cast of white grapes grown in Germany to supplement Riesling. It can produce more appealing wines of an entirely different style than Germany is known for. Its versatility is proven by production all over the world.

Silvaner was one of the earliest grapes to be planted in Central Europe. In the 1950s and 1960s, production boomed in Germany and Austria, and the resulting overproduction was responsible for lessening the grape's reputation by a significant degree. Müller-Thurgau and Riesling, however, later overtook Silvaner in terms of growth. Some of the wines are uncompromising, and for this reason some producers decided the grape is always better off blended. Made the right way in the right place, though, Silvaner wines can be appetizing and refreshing with characteristic fruity notes.

Liebfraumilch, a semi-sweet wine now associated with low quality, was very popular in the 1970s before overproduction ruined its reputation. When it crashed, so did Silvaner, and it took a long time for Silvaner to extricate itself from the bad reputation brought on by this wine. The majority of the plantings are now in Franconia, where about 20% of the plantings are made up of Silvaner. High-quality wines are traditionally associated with Franconia, and the same is true of nearby Saale-Unstrut. Elsewhere in Germany, Silvaner's wines range along the scale of quality.

The most reputable Silvaner comes from France, where it is spelled Sylvaner. It has a long history in Alsace, where it makes up approximately 9% of the vineyards. In 2006, the Zotzenberg vineyard was specified as Grand Cru, the first vineyard containing Silvaner to gain this distinction.

However, plantings around the world are in decline. Croatia offers some varietal wines that have attained a good reputation.