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Humagne Blanche - Zweigelt

Humagne Blanche - Zweigelt

Humagne Blanche is a white wine grape variety that can be found in the Valais region of Switzerland. It is also grown under the name Miousat in Gascony. It is one of the oldest Valaisan wines first mentioned in the 12th century. It has an ancient reputation of being the wine of lords and bishops during the Middle Ages and has long been described as a health wine for centuries, especially for women in and after childbirth due to its high iron content.

Today, this old indigenous grape variety is known as the treasure of Valasian heritage, yet it is very difficult to grow and is therefore a rarity even in Switzerland. It is a delicate grape that requires good care and a limited harvest.

Predominantly greenish yellow, Humagne Blanche is produced as a dry wine with fairly low alcohol content. This wine is renowned for its invigorating characteristics. It is a delicate wine with aromas of white blossoms and exotic fruit notes of honey and resin. It is also highly acidic which gives the wine a nice crispness. Its distinctive character develops to its full potential after approximately 3-5 years of storage.

Humagne Blanche is unrelated to the red Humagne Rouge despite the apparent similarity in the name. Humagne Rouge is the name given to Cornalin in Valais.

Humagne Blanche is related to Colombaud which suggests that it derived originally from the south of France and not, as some people suggest, introduced to the region by the Romans.

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What to Expect

The wines tend to be a lovely deep ruby colour and the nose is almost physically chewable with lingering black fruits, combining with sweet tones of treacle and caramel and a hint of stewed prunes in the background. Absolutely gorgeous.

On tasting, it is a surprise to find that it is typically lighter in the body than the nose suggested. Flavours of black fruits, especially cherry, come through with hints of plum in the background. Some Zweigelt will give a lot of spice, especially cinnamon. The length of this wine can be astonishing.

Lineage

Zweigelt is named after its creator, Dr Zweigelt, who crossed St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch in 1922 at the research centre in Klosterneuburg. Whilst crossing two great grapes does not guarantee a greater, this comes pretty close. Both parents are used to making beautiful wine and the child is too.

It was originally named Rotburger and in places is still known by that synonym today. However that can be very confusing as there is another grape, totally unrelated, called Rotberger.

Knowing the parentage of Zweigelt, it is clear that it is the grandchild of both Gouais Blanc and Pinot, making it part of serious grape royalty. It is also a parent of Roesler, also created in Klosterneuburg, an up-and-coming red grape in Austria.

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