Kerner is a successful crossing of the Riesling and Trollinger (Schiava Grossa). Although one of its parents (Trollinger) is a dark-skinned grape used for making red wines, Kerner is unmistakably a white wine variety. It has large light-green berries and shares many characteristics with Riesling, both in the vineyard and the winery. One of the most popular crossings created in 20th-Century Germany, it is extensively planted throughout the country, in particular Pfalz and Rheinhessen. It is also grown in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, England, Canada and Japan.
The variety was first bred in Wurttemberg in 1929, but was not released until four decades later in 1969. It is named after Justinus Kerner, the 19th-Century German poet and writer of drinking songs.
Kerner has a number of traits that appeal to winegrowers. First of all, it is not fussy about where it is grown. In Germany, a land dominated by the site-specific Riesling, this is a key attribute. It is also high yielding, ripens reliably and, as it buds late, is protected from spring frosts.
Like Riesling, Kerner is high in acid and has the ability to age well for many years. As a varietal wine it lacks the flavor and textural refinement of Riesling, but shows attractive apple, pear and citrus characteristics, sometimes with a hint of stonefruit. It may also be used in various blends, including the infamous Liebfraumilch.
Related grape varieties include: Schiava, Riesling.
Food matches include:
Europe: Zwiebelkuchen (onion tart)
Asia: Yellowfin tuna (sashimi); Thai green curry
Africa/Middle East: Grilled garlic chicken and figs with tahini sauce