Anselmann's Huxelrebe: Something Different for a Dessert Wine

Oct 7, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend and of course wine writers, sommeliers and critics are whipping out their editorials, recommending this or that wine to pair with your turkey, your mashed potatoes, yams and cranberry sauce.

Lately, I've begun to notice the number of wine writers who are pushing late harvest wines.

Typically, these Ontario late harvest wines are anywhere between $15 and $25.00 for a 375ml. And it's great to support the local economy (I bought several Ontario wines this afternoon) but it's also nice to find some good value wines. 

Lovers of German off-dry and sweet wines can look further than Riesling in their Vintages section. Huxelrebe is a crossing of Chasselas (known as Gutedel in Germany) and Courtillier Musqué. 

For those exploring the world of wine, a crossing occurs when one variety of grape is fertilized with another variety from the same species (in this instance two vines of the vitis vinifera family). Many modern grape varieties are a result of spontaneous crossings in nature such as Cabernet Sauvignon which is a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. 

In Germany, there are numerous crossings, many of them man-made such as Kerner (Riesling X Trollinger), Morio-Muskat (Silvaner X Weissburgunder aka Pinot Blanc) and the widely planted Müller-Thurgau (Riesling X Madeleine Royale, a table grape). 

Huxelrebe was bred in 1927 by Dr. George Scheu in the Rheinhessen region of Germany. Dr. Scheu, a prolific vine bred and the first director of the viticultural institute in Alzey, gives his name to another crossing, Scheurebe (Silvaner X Riesling) while Huxelrebe is named for nurseryman Fritz Huxel. (And I shouldn't fail to mention, 'rebe' is German for vine or vine shoot.)

Huxelrebe is grown almost exclusively in the Rheinehessen and Pfalz regions (Bereichs auf Deutsche...) of Germany.

The Pfalz (or Palatinate) is where you can find the Weingut (winery) Anselmann along the Southern Wine Route in the peaceful village of Edesheim. Here, the Haardt mountain range, a continuation of the Vosges Mountains of Alsace form a backdrop to the sleepy but verdant landscape. Even  though the Pfalz is technically part of Germany's Rhineland, the river is several miles east; no significant vineyards (Weinberge) border it.

The Pfalz is more southern than the other regions of Germany. Ripeness is rarely, if ever, a problem. Grapes along with figs, apricots, peaches, kiwis and almonds are grown throughout the area. 

The Anselmann family have been making wine for over 400 years and like the numerous wineries along the Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Route), grow a wide variety of grapes (including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot which can be difficult to grow further north).

The Anselmann 2007 Huxelrebe Auslese (AUS-lay-zuh) has won both silver medals at the Vin Agora in Hungary (2009) and Vinovita (2008). At $14.95 in a 750ml bottle it can easily compete and be compared to some of our local late harvest Riesling. But instead of petrol and apple, look for pineapple, passion fruit, honey and banana on the palate. This wine is full-bodied and could easily pair with cheese cake, pumpkin pie and many other Thanksgiving treats. 

MacNeil, Karen, The Wine Bible. Workman Publishing Company Inc. New York, 2001 
Robinson, Jancis (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2006.


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My focus is mainly on wine culture, history and education. I love the stories behind wine - the people, places and the regional personalities of the wine-countries around the world.

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