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Savagnin / Heida / Traminer / Paien

Savagnin /Heida / Traminer / Païen - this is a grape variety you find all over the Alpine regions and further afield.

For me it is one of the great white wine varieties, up there with Chardonnay and Riesling, producing great wines on several continents and able to go from sparkling to dessert with great ageing potential.

If you haven't tried the Swiss and Austrian versions, you owe it to yourself to try. Valais Heida in particular is typical - an incredibly impressive expression of the grape which has won gold medals.

The more exhuberant Gewürztraminer is a closely related grape - for more information, please go to that page.

 

Savagnin / Heida / Traminer / Paien' Wines

simon_maye_paien-heida_side770
Switzerland
White

Simon Maye & Fils
Just a touch of wood. My favourite Heida
eclat_-_copy_1
Switzerland
White

Valais Mundi
No compromise and infinitely subtle.
mdc_ww_heida_-_copy_1
Switzerland
White

Provins
Bright and clear like a trumpet solo.
traminer_spatlese_trib_side
Austria
White

Weingut Günter & Regina Triebaumer
chanton_heida-gletscherwein2_side_1
Switzerland
White

Chanton Weine
autochtones_heida_side
Switzerland
White
valaisheida_side
Switzerland
White

Badoux Vins
heida_2
Switzerland
White

Varone Vins
chanton_heida-mario-ba_side_1
Switzerland
White

Chanton Weine
Incredibly complex and crystal pure dessert wine.
heida_side
Switzerland
White

Domaine des Muses
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Austria
White

Stift Klosterneuburg
hofbauertr2011sandgrube_-_copy_2
Austria
White
steininger_sekt_traminer_-_copy
Austria
White

Weingut Steininger
Show all Savagnin / Heida / Traminer / Paien' Wines

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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