Four new white grape varieties have just been approved for use in Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine) Three of these are so-called PIWIs, which is fungal resistant crossings. PIWI is a German abbreviation for Pilzwiderstandsfähig (literally fungus resistant). The fourth grape is Goldmuskateller, a regular Vitis vinifera that also has a good resistance to rot.
The three PIWI varieties are Blütenmuskateller, Muscaris and Souvignier Gris. Austria has already approved two red PIWIs, Rathay and Roesler. Together they are planted on 273 hectares.
A PIWI is a kind of hybrid that has been through several stages of crossing and may include quite a lot of Vitis vinifera and just a little American Vitis. This means that it has not only a good resistance to fungal diseases but also a taste similar to grapes in the Vitis vinifera family (in French the word is croisement interspécifique). With these grapes, you need to spray less in the vineyard. Good for the environment.
Souvignier Gris apparently tastes a bit like Pinot Gris. Muscaris and Blütenmuskateller both have notes of citrus and nutmeg. Other PIWIs used around Europe are e.g. Solaris, Rondo and Regent. Hybrids, i.e. crossings between European Vitis vinifera and other Vitis (e.g. Vitis labrusca), have traditionally not been permitted in Europe but are becoming more and more accepted.
Read more: austrianwine.
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