Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of P

Palate

A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine in the mouth.

Peppery

A not entirely unpleasant characteristic reminiscent of black pepper sometimes found in young red wines (especially Shiraz) and ports.

pH

A measure of the concentration of acidity. pH ranges from 1 to 14 with the numbers 1 to 7 being more acidic. Water is neutral at pH 7 and wines are generally between pH 3 - 4.

Phenolics

A large group of compounds found mainly in the skins and seeds of the grape. They include the flavonoids, anthocyanins and tannins. During the aging process of wines many of these are precipitated out. Evidence suggests that red wine will offer greater protection against heart disease than white wine due to its higher concentration of phenolics.

Phylloxera

A microscopic underground insect that kills grape vines by attacking their roots.

Pipe

A cask holding two hogsheads or 126 U.S. gallons of wine.

Pips

Grape seeds.

Plan Bordeaux

A proposal for enhancing the economic status of the wine industry in Bordeaux.

Plonk

British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, blanc.

Pomace

The skins, stalks, and seeds that remain after making wine. Also called marc.

Port

A sweet fortified wine, which is produced from grapes grown and processed in the Douro region of Portugal. This wine is fortified with the addition of distilled grape spirits in order to boost the alcohol content and stop fermentation thus preserving some of the natural grape sugars. Several imitations are made throughout the world.

Porto

The legal name for a true Port wines sold in the United States since imitation ports may be labeled as a Port there .

Potassium bitartrate crystals

Potassium bitartrate crystals sometimes form on the cork. Caused by tartaric acid, the “wine diamonds” are harmless

Potassium sorbate

A wine stabilizer and preservative.

Potential alcohol

The alcoholic concentration that could be produced if all the sugars present were converted to alcohol.

Powdery mildew

A fungal vine disease common to cooler climates which can lead to crop losses.

Precipitate

When a dissolved substance can no longer stay dissolved and leaves the solution as a solid it is said to precipitate, to leave the solution.

Pressing

White grapes are pressed to release their juice only and not to break the seeds. Red or black grapes are pressed after fermentation to release more of the juice, color and astringent qualities.

Proof

Refers to the alcohol content of a beverage. In the United States, proof represents twice the alcohol content as a percentage of volume. Thus, a 100 proof beverage is 50% alcohol by volume and a 150 proof beverage is 75% alcohol. In the Imperial system, proof, (or 100% proof), equals 57.06% ethanol by volume, or 48.24% by weight. Absolute or pure ethanol is 75.25 over proof, or 175.25 proof.

Pruning

Cutting the vine to improve its shape and balance. The level of pruning can affect a vine's vigour and the quality of its yield.

Pulp

The flesh of the grape containing water, sugars and acids. The flesh of most grapes, whether red or white, is clear.

Puncheon

A wine barrel that holds approximately 84 U.S. gallons (318 litres).

Punt

The indentation found in the base of a wine bottle. Punt depth is often thought to be related to wine quality, with better quality wines having a deeper punt.

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

Syrah

A classic red grape variety transplanted from the Côtes-du-Rhône area, Syrah is still somewhat of a rarity here and is grown mainly in Valais and on well-exposed slopes. It produces a spicy, deeply colored, elegant tannic wine that ages well.

Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic international variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is marginally cultivated in Geneva, Vaud, Valais and Ticino. Besides being vinified as a varietal, it is blended with other Bordeaux grape varieties, or with old Valais varieties.

Rèze

Rèze is an extremely rare white variety found only in Valais. Not often produced as a varietal, Rèze is blended with other Vieux Plants of Valais. Rèze was also used to make the historic “vin des glaciers”, an amber colored wine produced in Val d’Anniviers using the solera technique.

No longer done today, one method in the past was to store Rèze in larch wood barrels, which gave the wine resinous flavor similar to the Greek Retsina, and masking some grape flavor.

He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.

Martin Luther

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