Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of R

Racking

The process of drawing wine off the sediment, such as lees, after fermentation and moving it into another vessel.

Rehoboam

A large bottle holding 4.5 liters, the equivalent of six regular wine bottles.

Rémuage
Reserva

Spanish and Portuguese term for a reserve wine.

Residual sugar

Unfermented natural grape sugar that contributes sweetness to a finished wine.

Reverse osmosis

A process used to remove excess water from wine.

Riddling

In the making of sparkling wine, including Champagne, Riddling is a traditional and tedious method for consolidating lees near the neck of the bottle to make it easier to remove. The bottles are placed neck down into racks called pupitres. At reqular intervals (from several time a day to once every few days) over a period (two to ten weeks) the bottles are shaken, given a twist, and dropped back into the the rack. This is to release the lees from the side of the bottle. The angle of the rack is gradulally increased, starting at a 45° until 90°, and the lees collect in the neck, ready for dégorgement .

To the relief of many winemakers, this process is mostly done by machine (gyropalettes), although some of the primier Cuvées in Champagne it's still done by hand.

Also known as Rémuage,

Root stock

Root system to which a grape variety is grafted.

Rootstock

The root section of an established, healthy plant, used for grafting. The section being grafted to the rootstock is called the scion.

Rosé

Rosé wine is made from 100% red wine grapes and can range in color from a pale orange to near-purple. In red wine, all the color comes from the skin (all juice is white), so to make the pale Rosé, after crushing, the skins remain in contact with the juice for just a short time. The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded. From then it is processed as a white wine. Rosés are ready to drink quite young.

Rotling

A Rotling is a wine made with both red and white grapes. They may be crushed separately, but must be vinified together. In contrast to all other types of wine, grape must may be added to increase the residual sugar. Mistakenly called Rosé wine because of its color. Rotling is fairly common in Germany

Round

Describes a texture that is well balanced with agreeable qualities of fullness (body) without other characters in excess.

Ruby

A style of Port wine that is generally sweet.

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

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

Vieux Muscat du Pays

A very old small berry Valais grape, difficult to cultivate. It is an aromatic specialty limited almost exclusively to Valais. Some clone or mutation of the Muscat is grown on almost every continent.

Himbertscha

Himbertscha is one of the rare indigenous white varieties from Haut-Valais, mostly at home in the vineyards of Visperterminen (Upper Valais). The name Himbertscha is said to come from a raspberry (himbeer in German) taste of the wine himbeerartigen. Jose-Marie Chanton who specializes in cultivating the old vines from Wallis makes this wine available under the quality label “Brantignon”. He also cultivates the Himbertscharebe, another “rediscovered” old Walliser white wine.

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