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

Himbertscha

Himbertscha is one of the rare indigenous white varieties from Haut-Valais, mostly at home in the vineyards of Visperterminen (Upper Valais). The name Himbertscha is said to come from a raspberry (himbeer in German) taste of the wine himbeerartigen. Jose-Marie Chanton who specializes in cultivating the old vines from Wallis makes this wine available under the quality label “Brantignon”. He also cultivates the Himbertscharebe, another “rediscovered” old Walliser white wine.

Bondola

An indigenous and ancient red grape from Ticino, Bondola has slightly higher acidity and lower alcohol, and produces a good simple table wine, often called Nostrano.

Marsanne Blanche

Originally from the steep slopes of the Côtes-du-Rhône, the Marsanne blanche grape found its way up the Rhone to Valais in Switzerland, and is known here under the name of Ermitage (or Hermitage).

New loves and old wine, give a man these and he never refines.

Francis Beeding

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

Fine Swiss Wine

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