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

Humagne Blanche

Only planted in Valais today, Humagne blanche* is another of the very old Swiss grapes, probably brought in by the Romans. Having a high iron content, and supposedly health-giving properties, this wine was decreed a “health wine” (Krankenwein) for centuries. The old written documents in which this wine is referred to as vinum hum-anum date from the 12th and 14th Centuries. It’s also called Kinderbettenwein or baby crib wine. I’ll bet those kids didn’t have much to cry about.

*no relation to the Humagne Rouge

Muscat Ottonel

Muscat Ottonel is a member of the Muscat family. Used for dry wines in Alsace and Hungary, and dessert wines in Austria and Croatia. In Switzerland it is usually used for light, dry wines. It’s parentage is believed to be the Muscat de Saumur and Chasselas.

Chénin blanc

The versatile “Pinot de la Loire” produces some fine wine in Valais. Like the Chasselas, it provides a neutral canvas for the winemaker’s art and terroir. Originating in the Loire valley of France, it has no relation or similarity to Pinot blanc.

A remedy for the moroseness of old age.

Plato

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

Fine Swiss Wine

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