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Himbertscha - Riesling

Himbertscha - Riesling

The Himbertscha is a very rare variety. The name has nothing to do with raspberries (Himbeeren), but rather it comes from "im Bercla" meaning "in the vine" ("Bercla" is a Germanization of the Italian "pergola"). Indeed, this is the preferred method of training this variety.

In the 1970s, the Himbertscha was saved in extremis from certain disappearance by Josef-Marie Chanton, Visp producer, who had spotted some vines in the old vineyards of Visperterminen. He now has less than a quarter of a hectare planted.

Himbertscha is most commonly found in blends with Chasselas, the dominant variety of Switzerland. That said, a handful of producers do make varietal Himbertscha wines although Chanton’s are the only commercially available. These are typically straw coloured, and present aromas of spring herbs, wild garlic, dandelion, hazlenuts and lemons. On the palate, the flavours are quite similar to moss, lemon and Brazil nuts.

Himbertscha is the child of Humagne and the half sibling of Lafnetscha.

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Riesling wines can be highly aromatic with apple, peach and pear at the forefront, mixed with delicate floral undertones and often honey and spice on the nose. On the palate, Rieslings echo the apple, pear and peach along with citrus and tropical nuances. Rieslings tend to pick up a noticeable "minerality" from their native soils.

Riesling, through DNA data, appears to be a cross between Gouais Blanc and an unknown relative of Savagnin. Riesling seems to have originated on the north bank of the Rhine in Germany where we find its first mention in a document dated 1435.

Up to the early 20th century Riesling and Sylvaner were often confused with each other. If you buy an ancient bottle you can't be sure which it might be. After the 60s, you're OK.

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