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Silvaner

German spelling of the variety known as Sylvaner in Alsace, and Austria. It is sometimes known as Grüner Silvaner in Germany. Silvaner was Germany's most planted grape variety in the first half of the 20th century. It ripens earlier than Riesling but later than Müller-Thurgau and therefore needs rather better sites. The wines it produces are high in acidity and not particularly marked by flavour or longevity, but in the right spot, such as particular sites in Franken and Rheinhessen, it can produce extremely racy, excitingly sleek, sometimes earthy wines that can age well. Silvaner is cultivated all over central Europe where its local name generally incorporates the letters 'silvan' and can shine, as Johannisberg or Rhin, in Switzerland where it tastes much fatter than the ubiquitous Chasselas. For more detail see Sylvaner.