We have superb examples of Cabernet Sauvignon from Switzerland, Austria, Italy and some incredible top-end wines from Israel. Marie-Therese Chappaz' fantastic wines
The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages.
Because of the high tannins and quite high acidity inherent with such a small sized grape, Cabernet Sauvignons usually require some time to reach its full drinking potential. Luckily, these same problems mean that these wines can last and mature for a very long time.
Cabernet Sauvignon is of course, the principal grape in all the great Bordeaux and Graves blends and it is no coincidence that many countries attempt to emulate the same blends and to blend more indigenous grapes with this one to produce local variety ‘Bordeaux’.
Cabernet Sauvignon originates in south west France. Other claims have tried to place it as coming from Greece or Spain but these have been disproved.
The parentage of Cabernet Sauvignon was discovered as recently as 1996 during the creation of a DNA database containing the profiles of the most important grape varieties. It turns out, to much surprise, that it is a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Yes, in spite of the rather large hint in the name, scientists did not want to believe it was. But for once, the received knowledge was right.
The origins of this grape are not without debate. It most likely began in north east France and south west Germany, though some believe that it is from Egypt and others, with no botanical proof, say that it is not from Vitis Vinifera but from Vitis Aminea or even other strains of Vitis.
Heida is the parent or grandparent of an impressive line-up of offspring, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Silvaner, Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, Verdelho and Traminette, among many others. It is related to Pinot but the parent/offspring relationship cannot be defined.
In Switzerland it is grown only in the Valais, principally in the vineyards around Visperterminen at an altitude of some 1100 metres above sea level, where the Föhn, a warm southerly wine, helps ripen the grapes. This is a truly old variety. The first written records date from 1586 when it was referred to as "Heyda", but it has been in use much longer. Indeed, the name Heida itself is local patois for "ancient" or "from an earlier time" and the French name "Païen" descends from "Pagan", i.e. before Christianity.
Plantings today are still limited with just some 15 hectares in commercial production. In the vineyard, Heida's grapes are small and compact and are yellowish and aromatic. It ripens mid-season, later than Chasselas, but before Petite Arvine. Heida makes, in my view, some of the best Valaisan white wines which can be complex and powerful, with exotic fruit flavours including quince. Heida ages quite well and should last 5 years without problems. They can also be versatile when food matching, going well with many vegetable dishes, cold meats and fish.
Most Traminer in Austria is either Roter Traminer or Gewurtztraminer. There is, however, a rare grape called Gelber Traminer. Do not expect to find any Traminer on our website. Have a look at the details for each wine and see what it really is!