Humagne White grape

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Humagne Blanc, or Humagne Blanche, is a late-ripening vine native to the canton of Valais cultivated and used exclusively from Entremont to the Visp Valley for the production of white wine. This variety has a very high vigour and abundant vegetation. The plant has large pentagonal green leaves without relief. The bunch is conical, more or less compact and medium-small, with three or four wings and long, robust peduncles. The green-yellow berries are medium-sized, spherical and with thin lenticels. The pulp is juicy and neutral in flavour. The wines made from Humagne Blanc are very fine and dry. In youth, they present fragrant notes of lime blossom, melon and wax, which turn into resinous aromas as they age. The structure is elegant, sometimes slightly tannic.

Humagne Blanc is one of the oldest Swiss vines, in fact it is mentioned as early as 1313 in the famous Registre d’Anniviers under the name ‘humagny’. In the 20th century, with the arrival of Chasselas (or Fendant) and Silvaner, the cultivation of Humagne Blanc was considerably reduced. During this period, the variety also began to be called Humagne Blanc, and not just Humagne, to distinguish it from the Humagne Rouge variety, with which it has no connection. DNA analyses, conducted by the Valais ampelologist José Vouillamoz, showed that the rare Lafnetscha and Himbertscha vines in Upper Valais originated from Humagne, and a direct relationship was also found with Colombaud from Provence. In 2007, Humagne was also discovered in the Pyrénées Atlantiques (south-western France), where it is called Miousat. The name Humagne is said to derive from a Greek verb meaning ‘to have an excess of vigour’, a characteristic of this grape variety, later Latinised into hylomaneus. Considering that Marseilles was founded by the Greeks and that the name Miousat belongs to the Courbuts ampelographic group, located in the South-West of France (Bisson 1995), it is possible to assume that Humagne originated in this area and that from there it made its way up the Rhone Valley to the Valais.

Today, white wine of this variety is still produced in the Canton of Valais, although in very small quantities compared to other Swiss varieties.

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Nominated by:Camille Cretol - Slow Food Valais