Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of D

Decanting

The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.

Dégorgement

The disgorging or removal of sediment from bottles that results from secondary fermentation.

Delicate

Describes most light to medium-bodied wines with good, clear flavors. Desirable in wines such as Riesling, Sémillon or Pinot Noir.

Demi-sec

Moderately sweet to medium sweet sparkling wine.

Denominazione di origine controllata

In Italy, Denominazione di origine controllata (“Controlled designation of origin”), of which there are three:

  • DO—Denominazione di Origine (designation of origin, seldom used)
  • DOC—Denominazione di Origine Controllata (controlled designation of origin)
  • DOCG—Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (controlled designation of origin guaranteed)
Depth

Describes a wine that shows an excellent concentration of aromas and flavors.

Dessert wine

Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 15% alcohol.

Devatting

The process of separating red must from pomace, which can happen before or after fermentation.

Diurnal temperature variation

The degree of temperature variation that occurs in a wine region from daytime to night.

DOC

The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or controlled place name. This is Italy’s designation for wine whose name, origin of grapes, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law. It is also the abbreviation for Portugal’s highest wine category, which has the same meaning in that country.

DOCG

The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or controlled and guaranteed place name, which is the category for the highest-ranking wine in Italy.

Doux

The French word for sweet. Usually refers to the sweetest category of sparkling wines.

Downy mildew

Fungal vine disease.

Drawing off
Drip dickey

A wine accessory that slips over the neck of a wine bottle and absorbs any drips that may run down the bottle after pouring—preventing stains to table cloths, counter tops or other surfaces.

Dry

Wines with zero or very low levels of residual sugar.

Dry/Dryness

A wine that has completed fermentation and has less than 7.5 grams per litre of dissolved sugar remaining is said to have fermented to dryness. The absence of residual sugar (sweetness) in a wine leads to a dry rather than sweet finish.

Glossary by Letter

  • A (21)
  • B (36)
  • C (38)
  • D (17)
  • E (8)
  • F (24)
  • G (5)
  • H (7)
  • I (4)
  • J (2)
  • K (1)
  • L (10)
  • M (25)
  • N (5)
  • O (10)
  • P (23)
  • Q (1)
  • R (13)
  • S (31)
  • T (21)
  • U (2)
  • V (22)
  • W (11)
  • Y (2)
  • Z (1)

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Kerner

Named after local poet and physician, Justinus Kerner, the Kerner grape was hybridized in 1929 in Lauffen in the Württemberg region. A hybrid of the white Riesling and the red Trollinger (Schiava grossa), it resembles the Riesling in character. It is being vinified in limited quantities in Valais, but its future in Valais dosen’t look too bright. It continues to do well in Germany, and on a smaller basis in Austria and Italy.

Sémillon

Hard to believe that Sémillon’s main claim to fame is its propensity to rot, but because of its soft skin Sémillon is prone to Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. “noble rot”). The “rot” concentrates the acid and sugar in the grape, and the resulting wine can be complex, rich, sweet, and aromatic. In short: pretty damn nice. The best known of this sweet style wine is Sauternes, coming from the Sauternais region of the Graves, near Bordeaux in France.

Sémillon can also make an elegant dry white wine, but since it can be short on acidity, it is often vinified with Sauvignon blanc.

Gouais Blanc

A promiscuous grape. Not good for much, but with a long, long line of descendents, including the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Possibly from Croatia, it’s called Heunisch Weiss in Central Europe.

The name Gouais is comes from ‘gou’, which is a scornful word from old French referring to its standing as the grape of the peasants. Very prevalent in the Ile-de-France and in the Champagne during the Middle Ages and perhaps brought into Valais by the descendants of the Ligurians.

Acidic and with little residual sugar, it’s primarily used to blend with low acidic wine to give it a bit of liveliness. Ampelographic studies in the old vineyards of Oberwallis have found a red Gwäss with the same characteristics as the white Gwäss. Almost abandoned, it survives in Haut-Valais hiding under the alias of Gwäss, thanks to Mr. Josef-Marie Chanton, http://www.chanton.ch/home.html

Burgundy for Kings, Champagne for Duchesses, and claret for Gentlemen

French Proverb

Swiss Alps, cows, wine bottle and large clock face in Bern, Switzerland

Fine Swiss Wine

Discover Switzerland’s odd grapes, small producers, and eclectic tastes