Rouge du Pays

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Rouge du Pays
Synonyms Landroter, Cornalin du Valais, Cornalin - for more see the Synonyms section
Art Grape vine ( Vitis vinifera subsp. Vinifera )
Berry color blue black
origin SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
known since 1313
VIVC no. 10240

Cross of
Mayolet × Petit-Rouge

List of grape varieties

Rouge du Pays (also Cornalin [du Valais] or German Landroter ) is a red wine variety that is mainly grown in the Swiss canton of Valais , where it is often called Cornalin. It is used to make the red wine of the same name (Cornalin AOC, Cornalin du Valais or Rouge d'Enfer), which is known as the "Old Country Red" (Vieux rouge du Pays).

The variety is one of the oldest grape varieties cultivated in Valais. The variety can already be detected at the beginning of the 14th century. At that time it was still called “Neyrum”, probably because of the intense, almost black-red color of the wine made from it. The variety did not get its current name until 1972. Until then it was called "old Landroter" and renamed to "Cornalin".

The high demands meant that the variety was almost impossible to find in Valais vineyards in the middle of the 20th century. It was saved by its exceptional quality. The special properties of the wine have led to a renaissance of the variety in Valais in recent years. It will remain a rarity, as it only thrives in the very best locations.

Descent, origin

The variety is a natural cross of Mayolet × Petit-Rouge .

The red wine variety comes from the border region of western Switzerland / Italy. As early as 1903, the French ampelographer Adrien Berget suspected that the origin of the variety was in the neighboring Italian Aosta Valley . This was confirmed by DNA tests carried out in 2003, because it was the result of a natural cross between the Mayolet × Petit-Rouge varieties from the Aosta Valley . These studies also revealed parenthood for the varieties Cornalin d'Aoste (Humagne Rouge) - with which it is often confused, and Goron de Bovernier, Neret di Saint-Vincent, Roussin. There is also a close family relationship with the Vien de Nus variety .

It came from the Aosta Valley to the Valais a long time ago. There it is counted among the group of "old plants". It is one of the oldest varieties in Switzerland, which has been cultivated here for centuries (the variety has almost disappeared in the country of origin). From the middle of the 19th century it was increasingly replaced by Pinot Noir and Gamay and was then almost extinct by the middle of the 20th century. From the 1970s it was revived and renamed Cornalin. This led to confusion and confusion with the Humagne Rouge variety , also called Cornalin (Cornalin d'Aoste). Today it is called again with the old name Rouge du Pays.

In Switzerland, Article 32 “Local grape varieties” states that the Cornalin du Valais (Landroter) is regarded as a local (Valais) red wine variety.

The variety was mentioned for the first time in 1313 in the Anniviers register (one of the oldest documents which speaks of the vines grown in Valais). The deed mentions the sale of vineyards in the Granges area . There is talk of an "interest from three varieties of well-ripened grapes, scilicet de Neyrum, de Humagny et de Regy", varieties that are known today under the names Cornalin du Valais, Humagne Blanche and Resi.

It was widespread throughout the Valais until the 19th century. In the 20th century, the area under cultivation decreased rapidly as it was replaced by varieties that were easier to cultivate. There are only a few sticks left when, in 1972, Jean Nicollier rehabilitated the plant and (incorrectly) baptized it with the name “Cornalin”. The correct name should be “Cornalin du Valais”, especially since there is already a variety in the Aosta Valley called “Cornalin”. In Valais this corresponds to the “Humagne Rouge” (Cornalin d'Aoste).

A distinction must be made between the varieties

  • Cornalin d'Aoste (Humagne Rouge): the Cornalin from the Aosta Valley, a natural cross between Rouge du Pays and an unknown grape variety.
  • Rouge du Pays (Cornalin du Valais, Walliser Cornalin): a natural cross of ( Mayolet × Petit-Rouge )

The variety belongs to a group of grape varieties that were able to maintain themselves in the geographical island location of the Alpine regions of Italy and the Valais in Switzerland. The following varieties belong to this family:

A genetic protection for Rouge du Pays (Cornalin vine) has existed since 1993. The three partners Société des pépiniéristes viticulteurs valaisans, the cantonal viticulture office in Sion and the Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil research station (ACW) put together a collection of around 100 clones of Rouge du Pays (Cornalin) on.

Oldest vine in Switzerland - Leuk-Stadt

In 2003, based on molecular biological investigations, it was established that the "old vine" in Leuk-Stadt was the Cornalin variety, which was planted in 1798. This vine is the oldest still living vine in Switzerland. Today the vine still gives a yield of 12 to 25 kg / year.

Ampelographic features

  • The shoot tip is open, bronzed light green and hairless.
  • The growth is strong.
  • The leaf is medium-sized, five-lobed, leaf bays U-shaped. The leaves turn an intense yellow-red color very early in autumn.
  • The wood of the vine is yellowish-brown and heavily grooved.
  • The grape is medium-sized, cylindrical and very compact. The berries are round, medium-sized and blue-black in color, the flesh has a neutral taste.
Maturity: late - about three weeks after the Chasselas

The variety is very similar to the Cornalin d'Aoste (Humagne Rouge) variety, also cultivated in Valais.


The variety is cultivated in the canton of Valais and, to a lesser extent, in the canton of Geneva . In 2015 there were 135 hectares in Switzerland.


The carmine-red wines are fruity, velvety, slightly bitter and rustic in taste with aromas of black cherries, violets and raspberries. In youth, the wine sometimes looks a bit wild, boisterous and rustic and scores with a beautiful fruitiness. The wines should only be drunk after they have been aged in the bottle for three to five years. The older it gets, the more spicy notes such as pepper, cloves and cinnamon emerge. The intense tannins decrease over time. Like the Humagne Rouge, the Cornalin goes well with game dishes.

A Valais AOC wine made from the Cornalin grape of Valais is produced from this variety. Article 88 "Grape Varieties" states that the Cornalin du Valais red wine is a Grand Cru . The minimum gradation is: 88.3 ° Oe or 21.2% Brix. The wine may not be put on the market before April 1st of the second year following the harvest.

Properties, claims

Because of its late ripeness, the Rouge du Pays variety needs the best and warm locations. The yield is irregular. It is particularly susceptible to botrytis and powdery mildew .


Eleven synonyms: Alter Walliser Rot, Complete, Cornalin, Cornalin du Valais, Gros Rouge du Zahlt, Landroter, Petit Rouge du Valais, Rouge du Valais, Savoyard grape blue, Vieux Rouge du Valais, Walliser Landroter.

Cornalin is a synonym for the Cornalin d'Aoste variety.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Wine economy statistics - Vineyards in Switzerland 2015
  2. The Valais Ordinance on Viticulture and Wine of March 17, 2004 speaks in Art. 32 of "Cornalin du Valais (Landroter)", in Art. 56 of "Cornalin or Landrote [...] from the Cornalin grape variety des Valais ”and in Art. 95 from“ Cornalin du Valais ”.
  3. a b c Jancis Robinson , Julia Harding, José Vouillamoz : Wine Grapes , 1st edition 2012, Penguin Books, London, ISBN 978-0-06-220636-7 , engl.
  4. Valais Ordinance on Viticulture and Wine (VRW) 916.142 of March 17, 2004, with a last change on 1.1.2017
  5. a b c The oldest vine in Switzerland Vitis Antiqua 1798
  6. Wine economy statistics - Vineyards in Switzerland 2015
  8. Decanter
  9. Valais Ordinance on Viticulture and Wine (VRW) 916.142 of March 17, 2004, last change on 1.1.2017
  10. accessed on March 1, 2017 Rouge du Pays in the database Vitis International Variety Catalog of the Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof (English)