The white grape variety comes from Spain. Synonyms are Cartoixà, Cartuxa, Pansa Blanca, Pansal, Premsal Blanca, Xarell-Lo, Xarel-Lo, Xarel-Lo (a special feature is the special "dot" which is only used in Spain), Xarello Blanco, Xarelo, Xarelo Blanco and Xerello. In spite of apparently indicative synonyms or morphological similarities, it should not be confused with the Cayetana Blanca, Macabeo or Prensal varieties. Allegedly the name is derived from the Italian "chiarello", which means Clairet (French name for a light red wine type). Under the name Xerello, it was already mentioned in 1785 in the probable place of origin Penedès. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2013, it is the result of a presumably natural crossbreeding Hebén x Brustiano Faux. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics). There is also the colour mutation Xarello Rosada (Pansa Rosada) with reddish berries.
The early to medium ripening, high-yielding vine is susceptible to powdery and downy mildew and trickle, but resistant to botrytis. It produces aromatic, acidic and full-bodied white wines with aromas of pears and lemons and sometimes a vegetable note, as well as storage potential. A study revealed an unusually high proportion of the health-promoting antioxidant resveratrol. The variety is cultivated in Catalonia mainly in the DO area of Penedès, where it is used for still wines and is one of the three standard varieties for cava, along with Macabeo and Parellada. In the DO area Alella, it is also very common as Pansa Blanca. In 2010, the variety occupied a total of 8,393 hectares of vineyards in Spain, with a declining trend (ten years earlier it was 10,288 hectares. This puts it in 80th place in the worldwide grape variety ranking.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)