The Real Alternative Wine Glossary: R (2nd half)



Riojas – People who are feeling a surfeit of Tempanillo are said to be “off their Riojas.”

Riparia – Those growers in the States who gravitate to Vitis Vinifera have been known to “jack the Riparia.”

Rock/R’Oc Music  –

Tommy’s got his six acres in ‘Oc
Now he’s ploughing all the garrigue
And the rock – so tough, it’s tough
Gina dreams of making some wine
When the harvest is tiny
Tommy whispers baby it’s fine

We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
‘Cause it doesn’t make a difference
If we make it or not
We can sell to the co-op and that’s enough
To survive – even if it’s a bit tough

Whooah, it’s hard to bear
Zero wine is so unfair
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Livin’ on a prayer

Solo (project)…

–Buono Giovese

The Roederers – Sounds like a long-running soap opera, but it is in fact a series of awards recognising various aspects of wine journalism. This glossary is up for the Cavas.

Rolland – Michel Rolland, who looks somewhat like a mini Pavarotti, makes operatic wines (in the And-That’s-What-I-Call-Micro-Oxygenation-Volume-57 vein) to satisfy the Parker-point craving ambitions of those who view wine primarily in terms of its value.

Rolle – This Rolle rocks the Mediterranean. Also known as Vermentino q.v.

Romanée – An itinerant picker who only works in the grandest of Burgundian crus.

Romorantin – Many roads lead to Romorantin, a grape variety introduced to the Sologne by François 1st who planted it on his mother’s property situated in Romorantin which was, at that time the capital of Sologne, and from which town it derives its name. DNA fingerprinting has shown that it is one of many grapes to be the result of a cross between Gouais Blanc (Heunisch) and Pinot fin teinturier, making it a sibling of famous varieties such as Chardonnay and Aligoté. Gouais Blanc is a Croatian grape brought to Burgundy by the Romans. It used to be the most widely planted white grape in Germany and eastern France, grown by the peasants in the less favoured sites next to the better vineyards growing Pinot for their masters.  Romorantin was once quite widely grown in the Loire, but has now retreated to the Cour-Cheverny AOC, a small enclave of the Cheverny AOC which lies south of Blois. Check out versions made by Puzelat and the Courtois family. Ancient vines produce wines with plenty of poke and gripping acid.

Rootstock, Grafting – This from The Winter’s Tale, in an exchange about art and nature through the metaphor of grafting rootstock:

“Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean

‘But nature makes that mean: so, over that art
Which you say adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race: this is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.”

Rhone north – If you like your organic bacon fatty and hickory-smoked, your garrigue scrubbed and your yeast in a cloth cap.

Crozes are red *
Violets are blue
St Joseph is also red *
As is Hermitage too.*

* Except when they are all white.


Rhône Rangers – A term that has thankfully vanished from our wine vocabulary and led to all sorts of excruciating puns and whimsical labels: Goats Do Roam being my favourite bête noir. The worst puns induce a condition called Rhône Rage. “Who was that Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise?” (Far too obscure – Ed). The man with the old telegram, smoking the flying cigar, Mr Grahm, aka The Ancient Marsanner, has an honorary dispensation to range wittily-rhonily across this subject.

Ron’s Guide To Great Wines – Here’s a claret. Expensive, mon cher, I should cocoa. Ah the clarets – West Ham at home, blowing bubbles, blowing games – the Happy Hammers – especially if you’re auctioneer! The prices, isn’t it, aren’t they – tremendous? Thomas Jefferson, wine collector, cultivated footballer, two Lafite wasn’t it (or was it two left feet?).

The Englishman’s wine though, n’est ce pas? An Englishman’s home is his château. Château Latour, but where’s the Château Latrine? Privy, I know thee not, what? Bordeaux, the great port on the Gironde, although nothing to do with port. Don’t ask if you can’t afford it. The Aussies won’t have an inferiority complex though. Whinging Pomerols! Burgundy’s the thing. Forget the minor varieties – see you later, Aligote, kir today, gone tomorrow, isn’t it? Ho ho! Meursault and Montrachet, the twin pillars of Chardonnay. Has a ring, like bedknobs and broomsticks, the sound of music, the sound of Musar… a great Lebanese wine made by er… Lebanese! Or the sound of Muscat, a grape escape, Julie Andrews fleeing from the Nazis on her motorbike… Or was it the other way around?

Rootstock – The natural wine festival attended by the jongleurs and troubadours of the Aussie wine scene.

Ropiness – Ropiness is manifested as an increase in viscosity and a slimey or fatty mouthfeel of a wine. In France the fault is known as (malade de) “graisse”, which translates to fat. The problem stems from the production of dextrins and polysaccharides by certain lactic acid bacteria. Occasionally, a good shake of the bottle diminishes the glueyness. Occasionally, it doesn’t.



It’s the eye of the partridge, it’s the juice of the grapes,
Rising up to the challenge of our palates,
And the last known imbiber drinks his fills, gawps and gapes,
And he’s watchin’ us all – in the eye of the partridge.

-After Survivor

Roseworthy – A pink wine that tastes like wine.

Rotary Drum Vacuum Filter – A drum ‘n’ bass band version of Earth, Filter & Fine.

Roussanne – do you really know your Roussanne from your Marsanne (q.v.). If you think you do or you don’t care, please play the following game known as Roussanne Roulette.

Roussanne 2

You don’t have put on the red grape
Those days are over
You don’t have to sleep with a Barbary ape

Roussanne – put off the red grape
Roussanne – put off the red grape


RS – The sweet postscript at the end of the taste of the wine.

Rulander – Russell Mulcahy’s lesser-known prequel to Highlander where Christophe Lambert and Sean Connery try to drink more Pinot Grigio than each other in order to experience The Sickening.


Is that Rully as in Scully?
(As in Mulder)
(As in Bosch)
No, that’s tosh
It should be Rully as in truly
Is it really?
No that’s Reuilly from the Loire
The Lower?
No mid-Loire
Bette Middler?
And it’s pronounced Roy
But you haven’t mentioned Brouilly
No Brouilly as in Artero Ui
I tell you what.
It’s hard to know Rully.
Noted. Duly.


Rustic – a bucolic wine with nowt taken out probably made with minimal interference in the vineyard and vinified in a rusty shed inhabited by families of pigeons, rats, bats and other denizens of the wild.

Ruwer – Where the quietest wine in Germany is made from the Scchhhheurebe grape.

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