Off the Beaten Path Varietals: Kerner

Castelfeder_Vernatch harvest_2014
Developed in 1929 in Lauffen, Germany by German grape breeder August Herold, Kerner has quickly become a popular varietal throughout Germany, Austria, and parts of Northern Italy. Herold crossed the varietals of Trollinger (also known as Schiava Grigia or Grauvernatsch depending on what part of the world you’re in; photo: Castelfeder Vernatsch harvest, 2014) with the classic Riesling grape.

Herold named his invented varietal after the poet Justinias Kerner, known for composing classic German drinking songs. Released for general cultivation in 1969, Kerner is one of the youngest commercially available varietals. It was firstly introduced to Germany, followed by Austria, Switzerland, and Italy (where it was introduced in the early 1970s). It’s now planted throughout the world in such places as: South Africa, British Columbia, England and Michigan.

Kerner is a very aromatic varietal and is easily paired with foods much like Riesling wines tend to be. This grape tends to be much more robust than Riesling however, making it a much more appealing grape to plant. Kerner has been known to survive temperatures below freezing in the winters and usually has larger yields. Kerner wines tend to have similar taste characteristics as Riesling wines (refreshing, with aromas of exotic fruits, strong spicy notes on the palate, and fruit forward), but it can have much lower acidity and a more rounded body than is typical of Riesling wine.

While easily paired with most dishes, Kerner is best served alongside light appetizers, salads, seafood, poultry, asparagus, or mild cheeses. Not surprisingly, Kerner is not easy to find in Seattle. We carry a lovely example from the Giovanett family of Weingut Castelfeder in Northern Italy. Ines Giovanett will be in Seattle at the end of February, and we will most assuredly taste this wine, so stay tuned for dates.

In the meantime, here are tasting notes for:
Label_IT_Castelfeder Kerner_no frame
Castelfeder Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti DOC “Lahn”

ALTO ADIGE (ITALY)
Reg $22.99 | INSIDER $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59

Originally founded in 1970 by A. Giovanette, then taken over by his son, Günther Giovanett in 1985. Continuing in the same tradition as his father, Günther still has close contact with winegrowers, careful selection of the best production areas and well-aimed cultivation of choice varietals

Involved in every aspect of the winery: this passion for winemaking begins in the vineyard with the planting of the vines, advising and working with the winegrowers and continues through the harvest and gentle pressing of the grapes in the cellar up to the vinification of the wines and finally to their marketing. The result of this difficult but rewarding job is wine to be proud of.

Grapes: 100% Kerner
Viticulture: After a short skin contact period (4-8 hours) the grapes are pressed, decanted, and finally fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to retain classic regional qualities.
Alcohol: 13.5% vol.
Appearance: Straw yellow with green reflexes
Palate: Fresh & aromatic. This wine has a high acidity & a spicy aftertaste.

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