No, Switzerland isn't all about watches, banks and chocolate. Switzerland is also about wine! It is true that Swiss wine is not very present in France for an obvious reason: the Swiss consume almost all of it. Only 1% of the production is exported. But our Swiss friends love wine and to satisfy the demand, 60% of the consumption is imported.
I begin by discovering the Changins school in Nyon where I learn that there are 5 major wine regions. The region of Geneva planted mainly in Gamay is made up of large areas of 4.7ha on average. In the Canton of Vaud, with its fragmented terroirs, Chasselas is king. André Bélard, oenologist, explains to me the unique micro-climate that reigns in the famous Lavaux vineyard through the "3 suns phenomenon" : the one that reverberates on the walls, the radiation reflected by the lake, and its direct radiation. These three types of radiation promote good grape ripeness, quite a program! Going up the Rhone valley (yes!), here I am in the Valais, which is the largest wine-growing area in Switzerland, with a dry and sunny climate: 120,000 plots planted with Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas (called Fendant in this Canton) and Petite Arvine. There is also the Region of the 3 lakes, where Pinot Noir and Chasselas are at their best, as well as Ticino, a more humid region on the Italian border planted with Merlot.
Marie Linder, a fine taster, explains to me that there is a large quantity of international grape varieties of French origin such as Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I personally think that they are not the most interesting but, by reputation, the best sellers. Take an interest in the local grape varieties, those which best showcase the terroirs of this beautiful country and which are the pride of the winegrowers. Taste for example the Petite Arvine, the Cornalin, the Humagne Blanche, the Humagne Rouge or the Garanoir. Of course, Swiss wines are expensive but quality is more and more in demand, the image of the fat and soft Chasselas is fading to the benefit of the freshness and minerality of the Petite Arvine. And that's a good thing...
A good raclette in the belly, on the way to Italy and the Aosta Valley!
Cellars of Paradise - Sierre
Humagne Blanche 2014
Philippe Varone - Sion
Petite Arvine 2014
Humagne Blanche 2014
Louis Bovard - Cully
Benjamin Gras (Les Grappes)
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