The white grape variety comes from Romania. The Romanian name means "fats of Cotnari" and the Hungarian name Kövérszölö means "fat grape", which indicates the large berries. Synonyms grouped alphabetically by country are Thick grape, Restraube, Sicktraube(Austria); El Grasz, Gras, Grasz, Grasă, Grasă de Cotnar, Grasă Mare, Grasă Mică, Grasi, Grassa, Grassa Mare, Grassa Mica, Poamă Grasă, Som(Romania); Bajor, Fehér Kövérszölö, Fehérszölö, Fejérszölö, Kövérszölö, Pataki(Hungary).
It is a very old variety, probably identical to the Fehérszölö, which was often mentioned in the Tokaj region in the past. The ampelographer Hermann Goethe (1837-1911) mentioned it under Kövér Szöllö as early as 1876 and mentions Transylvania as its origin. There are three varieties described in Romania: Grasă Crocantă (crunchy berries), Grasă Galbenă (yellow berries) and Grasă Verde (green berries); this biodiversity indicates Romanian origin. This is also supported by genetic relationships with the Romanian varieties Fetească Albă and Fetească Regală. Due to morphological similarities (especially leaves) it is often confused with the Furmint. Grasă de Cotnari was a crossbreeding partner in the new Columna breed.
The vine is very susceptible to Botrytis and therefore predestined for noble sweet wines. It is also susceptible to downy mildew, but quite resistant to frost and drought. It produces greenish-yellow to golden yellow wines with nutty aroma, high alcohol content and low acidity. In Romania it is mainly grown in the Moldava region and in the Carpathian foothills. From it the famous sweet wine Cotnari is pressed. It is mainly used in blends with the Tamâioasa Romaneasca variety(Muscat Blanc). The Romanian vineyard area is 640 hectares. In Hungary it is one of the official varieties for the Aszu production of the Tokajer on 45 hectares. In 2010, a total of 685 hectares of vineyards were designated (Kym Anderson).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)