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Amigne - Traminer / Heida

Amigne - Traminer / Heida

You're exploring Amigne

Amigne is grown around the village of Vétroz in Valais, Switzerland, and pretty much nowhere else on the planet. Very rare, very versatile, very delicious!

There are only 18 authorised growers in the area. For this reason it is often referred to as Amigne de Vétroz. The name ‘Amigne’ is derived from the Latin ‘amoenus’ meaning enjoyable or delicious.

From the Romans onwards there has been much debate as to the origin of the grape. Nevertheless, it is grown on terraced vineyards made up of glacial moraine and black schist which help provide Amigne with its unique character.

The wine made from Amigne ranges from bone dry to syrupy sweet, including Amigne flétrie made from grapes left to shrivel and concentrate on the vine.

When it comes to residual sugar, there is a system introduced in 2005, not unlike the putonya system for Tokaj wines. For Amigne they use Bees (Abeilles) which indicate three levels of sweetness with three Bees being the sweetest.

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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

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.

In Austria

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!

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