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Grape Name: Aligoté
Description:

Aligoté, a crossing of Pinot noir and Gouais blanc, originates from Burgundy and spread throughout France. It’s cold tolerant and ripens early, but is susceptible to fungal disease.

Called “Plant du Rhin” when it was brought to Geneva in the early 1900s, it is now something of a specialty in Geneva giving us an acidic, refreshing wine. It can be drunk young.

When blended, Aligoté adds acidity and structure to a wine.

It was also introduced into Valais as an alternative to Johannisberg, but it didn’t fare so well and today survives in only a few small areas in Unterwallis.  

Grape Synonyms:
Griset blanc, Melon de Jura, Mukhranudi
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France
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Grape Name: Gamaret
Description:

A new variety, developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud), Gamaret is enjoying a growing success with producers and consumers alike. It produces a wine that is richly colored and well-structured with sometimes-spicy notes that ages well.

Gamaret is a cross between Gamay and Reichensteiner (a white grape.)

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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Humagne Rouge
Description:

An alpine red variety that is a specialty in Valais, this vine is no relation to the similarly named Humagne blanche.

Humagne Rouge is a hardy, late ripening grape whose planted surface has increased largely during the last 20 years. It produces fine wine, low in tannin with a slightly wild character that is ideal with game dishes.

Grape Synonyms:
Cornalin d´Aoste, Petit Rouge
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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Blatina
Description:

A red wine grape of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Grape Name: Bondola
Description:

An indigenous and ancient red grape from Ticino, Bondola has slightly higher acidity and lower alcohol, and produces a good simple table wine, often called Nostrano.

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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Cabernet franc
Description:

Cabernet franc, one of the Bordeaux grapes, is a bit like the little brother of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Cabernet franc is usually used for blending.

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Grape Name: Cabernet Sauvignon
Description:

A classic international variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is marginally cultivated in Geneva, Vaud, Valais, and Ticino. With changing climate there are growers, at least in Zurich, planting Cabernet Sauvignon. Besides being vinified as a varietal, it is blended with other Bordeaux grape varieties, or with old Valais varieties.

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Grape Name: Cornalin
Description:

An ancient and indigenous alpine variety found only in Valais, Cornalin gives a wine that is fruity with a fine; bouquet and intense purple-red color. The slightly rustic hint makes it a good companion for game dishes.

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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Diolinoir
Description:

A new variety, Diolinoir was developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud). When grown in favorable locations in Valais, it gives a fine, robust wine, rich in color and with good tannin content. It is a cross between Diolly and Pinot Noir.

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Grape Name: Durize
Description:

Durize is a red wine grape, possibly indigenous, grown in the Valais district of Switzerland

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Grape Name: Gamay
Description:

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

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Grape Synonyms:
Garanoir
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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Garanoir
Description:

A new variety (Gamay x Reichensteiner), developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud), Garanoir ripens early. Can give interesting blends with Gamay, Gamaret, or sometimes Pinot noir.

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Grape Name: Goron de Bovernier
Description:

Goron de Bovernier is a red grape, which according to José Vouillamoz is probably a natural hybrid of Cornalin du Valais and an unknown variety. The grape gets its name from the municipality of Bovernier, in Valais. Small quantities are still found in lower Valais.

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Switzerland
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Grape Name: Merlot
Description:

Imported from the Bordeaux region, Merlot has found a second home in Ticino where it performs extremely well. Later-ripening than the other main Swiss varieties, it is hardly present in other areas. Merlot red wines are racy, tannic, and richly colored. A white wine from this black grape, commercialized as Merlot Bianco, gives quite interesting results and is increasingly popular with producers and consumers alike.

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Grape Name: Mondeuse
Description:

An old red grape variety well known in neighboring Savoie, Mondeuse is a rarity found in scattered plots in Chablais (Vaud).

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Grape Name: Pinot Noir
Description:

Genetic studies have revealed that Pinot Noir is probably one of the two ancestors (the other being the humble Gouais) of some of the most important vines cultivated in Europe today. It is certainly a particularly ancient variety, and originally from Burgundy. Pinot Noir, with its associated clones, is found all over Switzerland, but it is only in the eastern region that it dominates production. It is either produced as a varietal or blended with other grapes. These blends are known as Salvagnin in Vaud and Dôle in Valais. Depending on where it is grown, it can produce a wine that is either light and fruity, or rich and full-bodied.

Grape Synonyms:
Blauburgunder, Clevner, Spätburgunder
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France
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Grape Name: Regent
Description:

Regent is a very practical red grape. It matures early, is resistant to disease, needs little protection, and makes a decent wine. Cool.

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Grape Name: Syrah
Description:

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. Some Swiss Syrah wines have been winning international awards for in recent years.

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Grape Name: Arvine
Description:

Another delivery from Rome, there are actually three Arvine grape varieties, only two used for wine production: Grand Arvine, with the larger berries, and Petit Arvine, with the, you guessed it, smaller berries.

Grand Arvine gets criticized for displaying little character, whereas the Petit Arvine tends to have a fuller bouquet and lower acidity] In a blind tasting, Petit Arvine generally kicks ass against its plumper brother. The unloved Arvine Brune has faded from the scene.

Arvine is also an excellent grape for late harvest wine, which can be cellared.

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Grape Name: Petite Arvine
Description:

One of three Arvine grape varieties, Petit Arvine has smaller berries than its siblings. Produces wine with a nice bouquet and low acidity

 

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Grape Name: Bernarda
Description:

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.

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Prié blanc
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Italy
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Grape Name: Chardonnay
Description:

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.

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France
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Grape Name: Chassleas
Description:

In contrast to its native France where it wasn’t too successful as a wine grape, the Chasselas shines in Switzerland. Basically neutral in character, it reflects the nuances of the terroirs where it’s grown. Chasselas may be one of the first grape varieties ever cultivated and is one of, if not the dominant wine grapes grown in Switzerland.

Grape Synonyms:
Fendant (Valais), Gutedel (German-speaking areas)
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France
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Grape Name: Fendant
Description:

Fendant is a protected designation and may only be used in Valais for wines made from the Chasselas grape. In contrast to its native France, where it wasn’t too successful as a wine grape, the Chasselas shines in Switzerland.

Grape Synonyms:
Chasselas
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France
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Grape Name: Gwäss
Description:

Gwäss is the Germanized name of Gouais blanc.

Grape Synonyms:
Gouais blanc
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Grape Name: Muscat
Description:

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.

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Greece
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Grape Name: Sauvignon blanc
Description:

One of the classic grapes of France, Sauvignon blanc is planted in most wine regions of the world. It produces a wide range of wine styles.

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Grape Name: Vieux Muscat du Pays
Description:

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.

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Switzerland
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