Swiss Wine Regions

Wine Tasting

Herbaceous

An aroma related to vegetative or grassy characters. Some reds, notably under-ripe Cabernet Sauvignon (a distinct tomato-leaf smell), and some whites (Sauvignon blanc’s asparagus and capsicum flavors, for example) are described as “herbaceous”.

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Hard

A tasting term for a wine that contains too much tannin and is therefore unpleasant. Hard wines sometimes can be improved by aging.

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Finish

A tasting term for the lingering aftertaste after a wine has been swallowed.

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Firm

Term referring to a taste sensation caused by tannins - usually noticeable at the back of the mouth.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Gamay

This is the variety that produces all the Beaujolais wines. Later-ripening than Pinot Noir, Gamay is very widespread in the western, French-speaking part of Switzerland. But it is in Geneva that it has become the dominant red variety. Produced as a varietal in Geneva or blended with Pinot Noir in Vaud (Salvagnin) and Valais (Dôle), Gamay produces lively, light wines with vivacious aromas of freshly picked red fruits. These wines are best consumed young

Freisamer

The Freisamer plays more of a role in Graubünden but has a small presence in a few other cantons. It’s a hybrid of Silvaner x Pinot gris, developed in Freiburg in the Breisgau region. A temperamental grape that puts great demands on the type of soil and location—do I hear you say “terroir”?—it’s been trying to make a name for itself since the sixties but hasn’t really taken off.

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.

Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary.

Talmud

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