Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Red Grape Variety in Germany - 2009 Best Regent Award

Picture: 2009 Best Regent Award, Berlin, with State Secretary Kloeckner and the Winners

Best Regent Award

Ever drunk a Regent? Probably not, at least not outside of Germany. Regent is a new, red grape variety which is making a lot of noise. This is so because it is highly resistant against the most significant fungal diseases which affect grapes. Chemical plant protection treatments can be cut back considerably. Regent now accounts for 2 percent of Germany wine production.

Reflecting the increased importance of Regent, a Best Regent Award has been created in Germany. The 2009 Best Regent Wine Producer Awards went to the following winemakers.

Best Regent Producers 2009

Small Estates (less than 20 hectares)

Weingut Bungert-Mauer, Bergstr. 24, 55437 Ockenheim
Ockenheimer Laberstall 2003 (Barrique), QbA trocken
Ockenheimer Laberstall 2008, QbA trocken

Large Estates (more than 20 hectares)

Weingut Ernst Bretz, Langgasse 35, 55234 Bechtolsheim
Jahrgang 2005, QbA trocken
Jahrgang 2007, QbA trocken

Wine Co-operatives

Winzergemeinschaft Franken eG (GWF), Alte Reichssstr. 70, 97318 Kitzingen
Wertheimer Tauberklinge 2007, QbA trocken, Barrique
Wertheimer Tauberklinge 2006, QbA trocken
Der Weinschmecker Regent 2006, QbA halbtrocken

The Regent Grape

Regent is a dark-skinned inter-specific hybrid grape variety. It has both European (Vitis vinifera) and American vine species in its pedigree and a broad resistance against the most significant fungal diseases which affect grapes, such as downy mildew.

Regent was created in 1967 by Professor Gerhardt Alleweldt at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding by crossing Diana, a Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau cross and thus a Vitis vinifera variety, with the interspecific hybrid Chambourcin. Experimental plantings followed in 1985, and it received varietal protection in 1994 and was released for cultivation in the first German region in 1996. It is at present among the most important new fungal-resistant quality grape variety world-wide, especially in German wine regions.

Regent wines are colour intensive red wines with moderate acidity, can have rather much tannin and show aromas of cherries or blackcurrants. The wines often reaches high alcohol levels since Regent tends to reach high must weights that exceed even that of Pinot Noir. It is an early maturing grape variety. Regent grapes have very interesting quality characteristics like high amounts of anthocyanin in the berry skin and fruity aroma compounds combined with tannins. This predestines to produce excellent full bodied wines reminiscent of red wines of Mediterranean origin.

The cultivated area in Germany was 2,183 hectares (5,390 acres) in 2006, with an increasing trend. This made it Germany's 12th most cultivated variety, and the most cultivated hybrid grape variety. Thus just over 2 percent of Germany's vineyards are planted with Regent. The growing focus in Rheinhessen, the Pfalz and Baden. Regent is also grown in the United Kingdom with some success.

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