A paradise for wine gourmets
Christmas is near – and that means that we are soon going to be in dire need of a good wine (or two). So, why not choose a Swiss wine this year to impress your guests? After all, ‘small but mighty’ is the statement that is widespread among Swiss wine experts. We find out why exactly.
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | PHOTO © PIXABAY
Switzerland offers a great variety of popular and international types of grapes, but also some treasures that are not to be found anywhere else around the globe. The Swiss people are known to be culinary gourmets: therefore, they do not compromise when it comes to the quality of their wine for dining or for an enjoyable evening. It is therefore useful that they are able to grow and process a unique variety of grapes in their own country. In total, an area of 14,836 hectares throughout Switzerland’s 26 cantons is used for the vineyard cultivation. As different as these areas are in their scenery, they are different in their kind of soil. Among them, are the calcareous Jurassic, the molasse and the abundant slate soils, which ensure – together with a sunny but shielded location – a successful grape harvest.
The three biggest wine cantons are located in the south-western part of Switzerland bordering France and Italy. There is almost one third of the whole national cultivation area in Wallis, where the red grapes are dominant by more than 60 per cent. The second-biggest wine canton is Waadt, which concentrates more on green grapes, followed in size by the canton of Geneva. The most popular types of wine are the Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder) and the Riesling Silvaner (Mueller-Thurgau). But also the Raeuschling from Zurich, the Completer from Graubuenden, as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and many other sorts are well liked. Swiss wines will usually be drunk at a very young stage of maturity, which emphasises the typicity of the sorts and enables the tasting of used blossoms, fruits and spices.
Besides the well-known varieties, Switzerland also offers some real treasures and insider’s tips among the wines, so-called autochthonous or indigenous ones. There are about 40 different rarities that are quite ancient and to be found nowhere else across the world.
We present to you some of Switzerland’s top wineries and their tasty wines on the following pages.
Photo © Switzerland Tourism, swiss-image.ch/Roman Burri