Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter R

Rabaud-Promis, Rabaud-Sigalas

Originally one vineyard, these are two estates classed as 1st growth Sauternes, in the commune of Bommes. At the present time, Rabaud-Sigalas is generally considered superior.


Red wine from the Veneto region of Italy. It appears to be well reported, but until recently was little known outside the area.


Procedure of transferring the wine, after it has been made, from one cask to another. According to the type of wine, this is done several times. It serves to take the wine off any initial heavy deposit which is left in the cask, allows the casks to be topped up after any evaporation, and lets the supervisers check that all is well with each cask. For a little while after a wine has been racked, it is not usually at its best for tasting.

Radgonda Ranina

Yugoslav sweetish white wine, known on U.K. Lists as ‘Tiger Milk’.


One of the most famous blends of Madeira, the origin of the term being subject to many interpretations. The firm of Cossart Gordon first marketed it.


Veneto wine from Italy, of which little appears to be known.

Visitors to the area should attempt to sample it.


A term which is applied to certain wines – often fortified types – as they age and develop an attractive, special smell. It is a term of commendation.


Yellow herby digestive liqueur, invented by Francois Raspail, whom some consider as the forerunner of Pasteur in the history of wine. No longer produced.


Region at the south of the Rhone which produces a curious sweetish wine, slightly fortified. It can be an agreeable aperitif or between-times drink in the region but is seldom seen elsewhere.


An alcoholic drink, usually slightly sweet, formerly served as a between-times refreshment. It is supposed to have received its name from being the drink taken at the signing of any agreement (the Latin words are Utrata fiat). It is rarely seen today, but occasionally a ratafia may be made in a wine region, such as Ratafia de Champagne.


The word means ‘rough valley’. This region on the Rheingau is famous for wines which achieve an aristocratic character as well as the delicacy of the finest wines of the area. The Rauenthalerbergsite has been under vines for seven centuries. The State Domain, Graf Eltz and Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern own substantial properties there.

Rausan-Segla, Rauzan-Gassies

Two estates in the Margaux region of the Medoc, both of them classed as 2nd growths. The vineyard was originally united. At present, the wine of Rausan-Segla usually tends to be of superior quality.

Ray, Martin

Vineyards in Santa Clara, California, making quality table wines and specialising in fine sparkling wines. The name comes from the head of the firm.


A classed 1st growth of Sauternes, in the commune of Bommes.


Red wine from the Veneto region of Italy, although wines with this word as a prefix are found in the Trentino-Alto Adige also. The word is a shortened form of orecchi (meaning ‘ears’) and implies that only the outer points or ears of the bunches of grapes are gathered – that is, the ripest ones.


Process used in spirit production, whereby the spirit is adjusted, purified or refined. A rectifier may be fitted to a pot still. In the patent still, the second column is known as the rectifier

Redding, Cyrus

A 19th century writer of books on wine whose work remains more original and factually accurate than many.


One of the Australian wine families, established by William Redman atCoonawarrain 1901. Interestingly the Redman family – at least this branch of it – were abstainers, because Mrs William Redman was a firm Presbyterian! The family expanded their business after World War II and, in 1954, began to market their first wine bearing their own label of Rouge Homme – a literal translation of their name. Bill Redman’s son-in-law, Eric Brand, is also an important figure in Australian wine. Both the Redmans and Eric Brand own vineyards as well as making wines which are praised for their quality.


Dark red wine from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which should be sampled by anyone able to get it in its homeland.


Under this label some of the best Sicilian wines are marketed. This estate of Conte Tasca d’ Almerita makes both red and white wines of character and interest.


Middle Mosel parish, with several well-known sites, including Falklay, Goldlay and Staaden.


Town and vineyard region in the Murray River Valley. Australia, which was first named by George Chaffey in 1887: the aboriginal word means ‘red mud’. Enormous amounts of wine are made and the area is also significant because many vine varieties are cultivated under irrigation. It appears that the region supplies many wines of everyday quality.

Retourdes Indes

This term, very seldom seen today but once conveying extra quality, was originally used to describe wines (especially Madeira) which had been used as ballast in ships making the round trip to India and back. The movement of the vessel and the circumstances of its passing through different climatic conditions produced a certain character in the wine, considered a great asset. These conditions are now imitated by the estufa process in the maturing of Madeira.


Wine of Greece and the Greek islands, rose or white, flavoured with resin. It should be served chilled. The flavour is strong and you either like it very much or you cannot stand it.


(Pronounced ‘Roy-ee’) A dry white wine from the upper Loire, rather like Quincy, made from the Sauvignon.


This is one of the most famous names in Australian wine history. The original John Reynell, from Ilfracombe, Devon, arrived in South Australia in the early 19th century and soon married a fellow-passenger from the ship that had taken him there. Originally a general farmer, he began to concentrate on wine after John MacArthur sent him some cuttings. In 1845, when he became most seriously interested in planting vines and making wine, he dug out the Cave Cellar, oldest of its kind in Australia. Later he was obliged to sell some of his land, which went to what became the town of Reynella. Because of the deaths of Reynell menfolk in the two World Wars, the Reynella installations joined the Hungerford Hill Vineyards concern in 1970.

The estate now handles vast quantities of wine, a range of grapes being planted, although the stress appears to be on red wines, some fortified wines and brandy. The original cellar is now a store for special wines and a museum.

Rheinriesling, Rhineriesling

A white wine grape, producing some of the finest as well as many of the everyday white wines from rather northern vineyards and also making wine in many parts of the world. Many wines bear the name ‘Riesling’, although they are made from the Walschriesling or Olaszriesling -a different and less noble grape – which appears all over the world under different names.


Portuguese region near the Tagus River, where a large amount of wine is made, most of it of decidedly ordinary quality.


Region of Galicia in northern Spain, producing a quantity of wine. The authority Jan Read says the white is the better and better known.


Not to be confused with Richard (a well-known Chambery vermouth establishment), this is a house making pastis in the south of France.


The ‘Iron Baron’, Bettino Ricasoli, is the most famous name in a family that have been known for Chianti at least since the 18th century. It was Bettino who, in the 19th century, worked out the way in which Chianti vines and wines might be enabled to produce fine quality wines. The Baron was a man of considerable achievements in many spheres as well as wine. The great castle of Brollo, the family estate, is one of the landmarks of the Chianti region and the wines that are made by the family firm are usually of marked quality.

The firm withdrew from the Chianti Classico consorzio with some of the other important producers of the Classico region, because they felt their wines were able to stand by themselves, without the specific label of the consorzio.


Important producer of Italian vermouth, with its headquarters at Canelli in Piedmont. Founded by Ottavio Riccadonna in 1921, it is still a family concern.

Rice wine

As it is possible to make a form of ‘wine’ for anything that can be induced to undergo fermentation, rice has been used in the Far East to make a ‘wine’. There appear to be several sorts of this, the best-known being sake This, is recorded as having been made at least since the 8th century. Presentation is usually in a little bottle, shaped like a flask, often of porcelain. The advantage of this is that the flask can be heated, as it is usual to drink the rice wine hot; although in many places where it is available, it is also used in cocktails and similar mixes. The alcoholic strength of rice wine is apparently about 17°, so it should not be quaffed casually like a table wine.

Riceys, Rose de

A still pink wine made in the Champagne region; a pleasant drink but seldom found.


A long mixed drink, like the Buck, but using the juice of a fresh lime instead of lemon.


Name of great importance in Australian wine history. John Riddoch was one of the pioneer agriculturalists of South Australia in the middle of the 19th century. He built a winery at Coonawarra, himself planting a large number of various types of vines, in addition to his fruit farming. Unfortunately, he seems to have been in advance of his time: when he died, in 1901, his winery was facing problems because the demand for its products was low and the wines were not suitable for distilling. A man who was to change the history of the Coonawarra region radically, Bill Redman, arrived in the year of John Riddoch’s death.


(’Ries’ rhymes with ‘geese’) One of the great wine grapes of the world, capable of producing white wines of pronounced bouquet, elegance, with wonderful flavour and finesse. Its status as a noble grape means that it is often separately named on the wine label, wherever it is used.


(Pronounced ‘Ree-oo-sek’) A classed 1st growth of the Sauternes, touching the vineyard of ChSteau Yquem.

Rio Negro

Wine region in Argentina.

Ripeau Chateau

Ripeau is one of the grand cms classes of St Emilion, in the Bordeaux region. It is one of the larger vineyards and usually produces wine of serious quality.


One of the best-known names as regards Rioja wines. The bodegas were established in 1860 and the founder had as his aim the idea of making red wines like those of Bordeaux. Today the red wines (a little rose1 is apparently also made) enjoy enormous popularity and are easy to like, as well as achieving fair to good quality.


Term applied to certain Italian wines of quality and especially to Chianti, when it signifies that the wine has been matured for at least 5 years in cask.


One of the regions in the Roussillon district in the south-west of France. The wines are entitled to the A.O.C. Grand Roussillon. The wines are vins doux naturels and can achieve true quality.

Riviera del Garda

From Lombardy in Italy, these light red and rosl wines can be very pleasant. The most famous is probably Chiaretto.

Roberts Rothbury

Hunter Valley installation in Australia where, in the 1960s, the Roberts family planted a range of vines. Table wines have been made at the Belbourie property since 1970.


Wine region at the Cape, South Africa, where several estates produce quality wines.

Rock and Rye

This curious American liqueur gets its name from the original recipe, which consisted of rye whiskey, with rock sugar (sugar candy) on the sides of the bottle. The range produced under the name includes liqueurs flavoured with various fruits.


Both red and white wines are made in Romania and, nowadays, these are being exported in substantial quantities. The most esteemed Romanian wine is possibly Cotnari, a white dessert wine made from a blend of certain native grapes. There are a number of these and the wines may be named either according to the vines that make them – which include certain classic grape varieties as well as the native ones – or according to district. There are a variety of wines of everyday to medium quality which will probably become increasingly better known on export markets.

Romer, Rummer

The most important type of traditional German glass, anglicised as ‘rummer’ but nothing to do with rum. It may have been introduced to Germany from Flanders and most of the German wine regions seem to have made versions of it. In general it is a shallow bowl with a ridged foot; this foot can be an extension of the bowl below the glass, or may be elongated into a stem. This is often decorated with several rings in the glass, also with ‘points’ or small decorative additions of glass stuck on the stem, or a knob in the middle. Green and yellowish-green glass were often used to make romers. Most museums show some examples.


Red grape used in the Veneto region of Italy.


Brand name associated since before World War II with the K.W.V. For whom the great Dr Niehaus (better known possibly for his work with South African sherry) created a blend of wines to make this fullish, appealing red table wine. Today Roodeberg is probably the best-known and most popular South African wine in export markets: it demonstrates the Cape’s character as well as showing the clear-cut style of a well-made wine. It benefits enormously by some bottle age, so anyone buying a youngish version would be well advised to keep it for some months before drinking.

Rooty Hill

Important Australian wine area, where the plot now called Minchinbury, known forits sparkling wine, was awarded to a Captain Minchin in 1819. Penfolds own it today and the stress of the production at Minchinbury appears to be on white wines from a variety of classic grapes, including the Traminer.


This is the world-famous agricultural and oenological college to the north of Adelaide in South Australia. The winemaking course was established as recently as 1936, but the fame of those who are trained there has spread to every wine region. ‘A Roseworthy man can make a contribution to any winemaker in the world’ is a fair claim. For example, during the extremely hot summer of 1959 in Europe, one of the great Graves estates was entertaining an Australian (Roseworthy-trained) guest. Thanks to his advice, the wine, which risked pasteurising itself as temperatures mounted and the must bubbled uncontrollably, was in fact kept under control and a good wine with correct equilibrium was made that year. Today controlling the temperature of the fermentation vat is routine, but it was a Roseworthy graduate, familiar with the problems of great heat at vintage time, who convinced the conservative French proprietor to follow certain procedures to slow up the fermentation and keep the must within bounds.


This appears to be a type of liqueur made in Italy by numerous religious houses. Philip Dallas says that a shop in Rome stocks about 60 different ones, based on herbs. The traveller should certainly try to sample them as they are seldom seen outside the area of production; some of them appear to be of a digestive character.


Italian term, meaning ‘red’.


Grape used for some Austrian wines.


One of the white grapes used for Seyssel.


District in the south-east of France, along the Mediterranean coast and bordering on the Pyrenees, where a variety of wines are made. These include Blanquette de Limoux, Corbieres, Fitou, and the vins doux naturels of Rivesaltes, as well as wines bearing the names of Cotes d’Agly and Roussillon dels Aspres. Until very recently these were not known outside their region, much less in export markets; but with new and improved methods of vinification and transport, some are beginning to attract wide attention because of their pleasant character and reasonable price.


The red wine of the Lungarotti establishment at Torgiano in Umbria, Italy. It has achieved considerable success on export markets and is a robust, assertive wines which benefits by bottle age.


Red Piave wine from Italy, which Philip Dallas says is worth attention.


Cabernet Grape evolved in 1946 by Harold Paul Olmo, in California, by crossing the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan. Olmo also evolved the popular Emerald Riesling.


Not to be confused with Riidesheim on the Nahe, this is situated on the north bank of the Rhine as the river turns from west to north, and it is both picturesque as a town as well as famous for its wines. These tend usually to have pronounced fullness of character and to be immediately appealing.


A wine from the Montilla-Moriles region of Spain, which Jan Read says is pale and light and has no experience of the solera. It is obviously something that the traveller should try to sample on the spot.


Large winemaking concern mainly associated with Chianti production in Italy.


One of the defined regions in which Chianti can be made.


This is actually the Pinot Gris grape. It gets its German name because a merchant called Ruhland introduced it there in 1711. Also known as Grauburgunder.


(Pronounced ‘Roo-yee’) A region in the Cote Chalonnaise in southern Burgundy, producing red, white and sparkling wines.


The enormous company that owned many of the firms making the wines and sherries of Spain. They ran into serious trouble a few years ago and the head of the firm was obliged to leave the country.


Austrian wine region in the Burgenland district, making some good wines, especially those described as ausbruch, which signifies extreme ripeness as a result of late picking.


More correctly Schoongezicht-Rustenberg, this is one of the famous estates in the Stellenbosch region of the Cape, South Africa. It was in fact the first farm to be granted to a private owner in north Stellenbosch; the original Schoongezicht house was built in 1814 by the Hendrik Cloete whose father made the fine wines of Constantia. The property has survived many vicissitudes: today the white wines bear the name of Schoongezicht, the reds that of Rustenberg. They have won a name for quality and a following among customers.


(Pronounced ‘Roo-ver’) Tributary of the Mosel, which it joins at the village of Ruwer. The wines from its principal parishes – Waldrach, Kasel, Mertesdorf, with the estates of Grunhaus, the Karthauser Hof, Eitelsbach and A velsbach – are capable of outstanding quality. They are usually immediately appealing: fresh, crisp and with a delicate but fascinating bouquet.


Pink Yugoslav wine, made from the Prokupac grape.


Vineyard in the McLaren Vale region of Australia, first planted in 1886. The prime achievement of the director of the concern after World War II was to buy the wines of smaller concerns, label, and sell each as an individual product, along with information about the way in which the wine was made. The firm was called McLaren Vale Wines. It was taken over by Reed Industries in 1970.


A number of saints are associated with the making of wines and spirits, some of them being general patrons, others with local associations. St Vincent is the usual patron of French winegrowers, and his feast day, 22 January, is usually celebrated. St Martin of Tours (11 November), who lived in the 4th century, was the soldier who divided his cloak with a beggar. He is supposed to have rediscovered the advantages of pruning when his monastery’s asses got into the vineyard and nibbled the vine shoots. To everyone’s amazement, the damaged vines bore better than any later on. St Urbain, Bishop of Autun (25 May), is patron of German winegrowers, and St Kilian is patron of Franconian vintners. St Cyriak is a patron of the Palatinate. The associations between church and wine have been close for many centuries, and travellers in wine regions are likely to find many other saints commemorated for something to do with wine.

The Ice Saints, sometimes referred to by growers, are Sts Pancratius, Servatius, Boniface and Sophid, whose feast days occur in mid-May – the time when a late frost can seriously damage the vines.

16. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Spirits, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Dictionary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter R


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