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(Synonyms: Amigne Blanche, Amique)
Amigne is a white-wine grape originating in Switzerland, and today grown almost entirely in the area of Vétroz, in the Valais region of Switzerland (and the grape and wine are often called "Amigne de Vétroz"). The quantities produced are relatively small, and is the case with so many excellent Swiss wines, are consumed mainly within the country, leaving precious little for export (one source says that fully 98% of Swiss-made wines are consumed domestically).
The wine can be, and is, made anywhere along the spectrum from dry to sweet. As a dry table wine, it is a big, full-bodied (though somewhat low-acid) white; the qualities often mentioned are citrus and stonefruit, which are common to many whites, plus herbaceous aromas and a bitter-almond taste, which are not. Other mentioned qualities include honey and flowers; Oz Clarke referes to a "brown-bread" quality. Makers are now (as from 2005) using a bee sysmbol on their labels to convey the sweetness level (from one to three bees being the scope, and corresponding—roughly—to dry, off dry, and sweet). Most published descriptions of Amigne wines seem to have been copied from one another, or some Ur-writeup.
Factoid: Amigne wine seems to be at least twenty centuries old, since Columella, in his work De Re Rustica, refers to Vitis aminea.
Some Descriptions of Amigne Wines
Some Amignes to Try
We are unable to locate any specimens of Amigne (at any sweetness level) retailing at less than $30+, well over our cutoff point. There may well be some more reasonably priced bottlings in limited retail availability in smaller specialty shops, and if you see a bottle anywhere at an affordable price—and the "bee count" (sweetness) is to your taste—by all means grab it. (Even the very few and rather expensive bottlings we could find seem mostly to be at least of the "two bee" sweetness level, not really table wines.)
For a Splurge
The only Amigne at all that we could find that seems to be an actual dry table wine (the importer says "Papilloud prefers to vinify his wine dry, with notes of honey integrated into a substantial structure that even carries some tannin") is the Romain Papilloud Cave du Vieux Moulin Amigne de Vetroz Grand Cru, which retails at from $39 to $46. If you're adventurous on your splurges, give it a go. Mind, at least one source says it is "semisweet", and another says "off-dry", so caveat emptor.
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