By Daniela Dejnega
Räuschling isn’t just wonderfully umlauted, it’s also one of the most exciting autochthonous white wine varieties in German-speaking Switzerland. This became clear to me on a March afternoon in 2015. I had accepted an invitation from Mémoire des Vins Suisses to come to Zürich and take part in a Räuschling vertical tasting — featuring vintages that stretched back to 1935 — at Weingut Schwarzenbach in Meilen on Lake Zürich. Since then, I taste every Räuschling I can get my hands on. The lively acidity, fine citrus aromatics, and aging potential of this rare variety fascinate me over and over.
Rustling in the wind
The first time I heard the name Räuschling, I naturally thought of the German word Rausch, meaning the state of mind that follows copious wine consumption. Although Räuschling’s intoxicating effect can’t be denied, etymologically, the name has nothing to do with inebriation. Instead, some believe it derived from the vigorous rustling of leaves in the wind. The leaves of the Räuschling vine are exceptionally hairy and thick, so they rustle more audibly than others. Alternatively, the designation Räuschling may have developed from the word Russling, a reference to the very dark, berusste — or, sooty — color of the vine wood.
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