Swiss Wine Regions

Distinguished Wine Region of Neuchâtel

Subdivided into three areas: "La Béroche", from Vaumarcus to Bevaux, "The Coast", from Cortaillod to Neuchâtel, and "Entre-deux-Lacs", which lies between lake Bienne and lake Neuchâtel, the Neuchâtel wine region may not be the largest, but it has a long and distinguished history.

Everyone seems to agree on the year, 998, but not on the event. Whether it was when Count Rudolf of Neuchâtel made a gift of land to the Abbey Bevaix, or it's the year the Abbey got its first permit to plant vineyards, but 998 is the year the monastery became the nucleus of Viticulture in Neuchâtel.

Possibly because France was preoccupied by the Thirty Years War, the biggest area expansion was in the 17th century. Then from a peak in the 19th century, with 1200 hectare (ha) under grape cultivation, it dropped to 570 ha in the 1970's. Today it is around 650 ha.

Principle white grapes are the Chasselas, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir holds up the red end. There is also the odd Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamaret, und Garanoir (GxR). Three specialities of Neuchâtel are: Oeil-de-Perdrix, Non Filtré, and Perdrix Blanche.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Sémillon

Hard to believe that Sémillon’s main claim to fame is its propensity to rot, but because of its soft skin Sémillon is prone to Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. “noble rot”). The “rot” concentrates the acid and sugar in the grape, and the resulting wine can be complex, rich, sweet, and aromatic. In short: pretty damn nice. The best known of this sweet style wine is Sauternes, coming from the Sauternais region of the Graves, near Bordeaux in France.

Sémillon can also make an elegant dry white wine, but since it can be short on acidity, it is often vinified with Sauvignon blanc.

Gamaret

A new variety, developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud), Gamaret is enjoying a growing success with producers and consumers alike. It produces a wine that is richly coloured and well-structured with sometimes-spicy notes that ages well. Gamaret is a cross between Gamay and Reichensteiner (a white grape.)

Diolinoir

A new variety, Diolinoir was developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud). When grown in favorable locations in Valais, it gives a fine, robust wine, rich in color and with good tannin content. It is a cross between Diolly and Pinot Noir.

Wine is made to be drunk as women are made to be loved; profit by the freshness of youth of the splendor of maturity; do not await decrepitude.

Theophile Malvezin

Swiss Alps, cows, wine bottle and large clock face in Bern, Switzerland

Fine Swiss Wine

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