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

Humagne Blanche

Only planted in Valais today, Humagne blanche* is another of the very old Swiss grapes, probably brought in by the Romans. Having a high iron content, and supposedly health-giving properties, this wine was decreed a “health wine” (Krankenwein) for centuries. The old written documents in which this wine is referred to as vinum hum-anum date from the 12th and 14th Centuries. It’s also called Kinderbettenwein or baby crib wine. I’ll bet those kids didn’t have much to cry about.

*no relation to the Humagne Rouge

Pinot blanc

Pinot blanc is a mutation of Pinot Gris. It may have found its way up the Rhône to Valais with any number of mercenaries returning to Switzerland, and today small quantities are cultivated in many Swiss wine regions. When grown in favorable conditions it produces a fruity wine with good acidity.

Chardonnay

A vigorous and adaptable vine from Burgundy, Chardonnay grows pretty much everywhere that wine is made. Although production is not so high in Switzerland, award-winning wines have come out of Geneva, Valais and Neuchâtel.

New loves and old wine, give a man these and he never refines.

Francis Beeding

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