When grown with care and passion, Pinot Noir is a fabulous and food friendly red. We have world class "cold climate" Pinot Noir from winemakers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Truly unique ones, too. Marie-Therese Chappaz' fantastic wines
Swiss Pinot Noir often manages to combine red fruit and notes of autumnal woods with cool and soft tannins. It is subtler in Vaud, bolder in Valais and Geneva, in Eastern Switzerland, it beats anything Germany can produce. Don't miss the unique Swiss "Oeil the Perdrix", a rosé of free run Pinot Noir juice that is dry and complex (and doesn't feel like rosé when tasted blind).
Austrian Pinot Noir is also delicious, often in a warmer style. In Austria it does not get the attention it deserves (neither does the Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris). Yet, from the juicy Buchegger, the rich Klosterneuburg, the perfectly balanced Zull to the masterly oaked Lentsch and the lovely Pinot from Fischer, we have one impressive bottle after another. You can't go wrong.
Pinot Noir has many other names, some of which may offer clues as to its origin - Blauburgunder, Bourguinon, Morillon and Savagnin Noir. It probably originates in France but there are many other theories which have it coming from Egypt, Italy and Germany.
The genealogy of Pinot is hugely impressive with a wide number of well known grapes coming from it particularly through its crossings with Gouais Blanc and Savagnin (not Sauvignon which are children of this crossing).
Origins and Connections
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!