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

Gamay

This is the variety that produces all the Beaujolais wines. Later-ripening than Pinot Noir, Gamay is very widespread in the western, French-speaking part of Switzerland. But it is in Geneva that it has become the dominant red variety. Produced as a varietal in Geneva or blended with Pinot Noir in Vaud (Salvagnin) and Valais (Dôle), Gamay produces lively, light wines with vivacious aromas of freshly picked red fruits. These wines are best consumed young

Humagne Rouge

An alpine red variety that is a specialty in Valais, this vine is no relation to the similarly named Humagne Blanche. Humagne Rouge is a hardy, late ripening grape whose planted surface has increased largely during the last 20 years. It produces a fine wine, low in tannin with a slightly wild character that is ideal with game dishes.

Riesling

A classic German white variety, Riesling (or Petit Rhin) is rare in Valais but does produce good results on the favorable schistose soils around Sion.

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