The name is slightly misleading. Although it sounds like it, the grape variety is not originated in Portugal. For a long time, (blue) Portugieser had been considered to be an indigenous grape variety, but in fact, it is a crossing between „Blaue Zimmettraube“ and „Silvaner“. Today we know that the grape variety came to Germany during the 19th century from Slovenia and Austria. At the time, Austria was the occupying power in Mainz. And the Austrians brought with them not only the grape variety, but also Narhalla March, the most important music piece during Mainzer carnival. Until today, Narhalla March, the carnival hymn, is often associated with this happy and cheerful red wine, that is hardly ever taken seriously. Yet, it has grown to a respectable importance in Rheinhessen, covering 1,015 hectares (4% of the total vineyards), ranking third in red wines after Dornfelder and Pinot Noir.
Portugieser is considered as an uncomplicated, pleasant and fresh wine. With only few tannins, it develops quickly and can already be enjoyed in spring, only a few months after harvest. Potugieser is a grape variety that reacts very strongly to yield reduction. Then this ordinary grape variety turns up big and produces remarkable red wines, which impress with their depth and their power.
Young Portugieser prefers to be served slightly chilled, as the coldness intensifies the refreshing character and the pleasant and lively acidity of this red wine. It offers many different aromas : red currant, raspberry or strawberry, sometimes sour cherry.
Light Portugieser is a very good and playful combination for many different dishes. The more powerful ones are the perfect match for fried fish.