Why Londoners should drink Silvaner

Or: the Art of Making Silvaner.

Our silvaner grape, growing on a very fertile “Loess” soil, has a few annoying habits and no amount of hugging or love-deprivation seems to get rid of it.

Those habits are:

1) the berries on each bunch love to stand squeezed in a tight second-row spot, as if travelling the London or Tokyo tube during rush hour.

2) the vines produce way too many grapes.  A third of that and the plant would stand a chance of carrying them to full ripeness without turning into a mouldy mess.

3) at the end of all of that, ie when we come to take them off, they don’t want to let go of their juice. I DON’T BELIEVE IT! All that trouble for the whole year and he/she/thegrape/theberry holds it in, like you would do, if you tried to avoid the toilets during a music festival. (Roddy Doyle, in “The Guts”, gives you a more graphic description of the latter.)

 

All of these habits would deserve its own chapter, on how we try to get round those terrible habits, with tricks or sheer hard work.  Suffice to say that making wine out of totally ripe and clean (ie, no mould) Silvaner grapes amounts to an art.  You should try the results!

Evidence of Habit No 1:

 

the "second row" berry found hiding when cutting away the first row. Expected to go mouldy when feeling the squeeze from first row, if left growing as-is. Will evenutally turn the whole bunch into a mouldy mess.

the “second row” berry found hiding when cutting away the first row. Expected to go mouldy when feeling the squeeze from first row, if left growing as-is. Will eventually turn the whole bunch into a mouldy mess.

Evidence of Habit No 2:

"before and after" cutting two thirds away

“before and after” cutting two thirds away

photo 2-2

 

Too tightly packed, those berries, and it is only July:

berries London Underground squeeze too tightly packed

 

Here is what the London underground feel would look like, if left untreated! For more gory details, click here.

To say it is disheartening, knowing that these bunches are heading for “mouldy” doom in the “bio/organic” world (if left untreated), is an understatement.  And the short-term treatment, – lots of cutting out, is even more disheartening.