Swiss Wine Regions

Oeil-de-Perdrix

Oeil-de-Perdix is the flagship wine of Neuchâtel. It is a delicate rose wine made from the Pinot noir grape and it is a Neuchâtel speciality - and has been for centuries. Unfortunately the Canton failed to protect it, and as a result you may see the name "Oeil-de-Perdix" on any rose wine from around the world.

Within Switzerland the Oeil-de-Perdix name may only be used on rose made from Pinot noir, and a good Neuchâtel Oeil-de-Perdix will have the typical Pinot noir bouquet.

As a side note, in 1975 a rose wine was made from the Zinfandel grape at the Sutter Home Winery in California. The wine got "stuck" during fermentation, making a sweet, pink wine, which met with great success and little respect. It has been referred to as the "blue haired ladies" wine.

The maker, Bob Trinchero, had wanted to name it "Oeil de Perdrix", but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) demanded that Trinchero translate the name to avoid confusion for the American public. Since from a marketing point of view "Eye-of-the-Partridge" is fairly meaningless, "White Zinfandel" was born. White evidentially being the least confusing description for a rose.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Bernarda

An old vine, but you won’t find it for sale anymore. However it’s being experimented with by Jean Nicollier (I’m searching for more references). The Bernarda is a Prié blanc from the Val d’Aosta that may have come into Switzerland over the St. Bernhard pass, and hence the name.

Räuschling

The Räuschling grape is a very old and probably indigenous Swiss white wine grape. Once fairly common in Switzerland and Alsace, Räuschling got pushed aside by the more useful Müller-Thurgau grape, and today Räuschling is a minor grape. Still found in Alsace, France, and occasionally used in the “Vin d’Alsace”, it still retains quite some respect in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, most notably in the canton of Zurich, where is is considered a “Zuri-grape”.

It is also planted in Valais.

Muscat

A very ancient grape probably from Greece, Muscat Blanc is a delicate, difficult variety to cultivate. It is an aromatic specialty limited almost exclusively to Valais. Producing a fine, perfumed aperitif and dessert wine, Muscat Blanc should be served in its prime.

Tis better for pearls to pass through the lips of swine than good wine to pass through the lips of the indifferent!

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

Fine Swiss Wine

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