Swiss Wine Regions

Vaud Wine Region

Vaud, Switzerland's second most important wine canton, is where Chasselas, the French outcast grape, seems to have found ideal conditions; chalky limestone soils, underlying alkaline earth, and a nurturing climate. It is in Vaud that the finest Chasselas based wines are found, including the prestigious Dézaley.

Athough the Chasselas grape accounts for over 80% of plantings, you will also find Pinot noir, Gamay, a humbled Chardonnay, and Pinot gris.

The Vaud wine region is distributed across three wine sub-regions: Chablais, La Côte and Lavaux*. Here the steep terraced vineyards plunge from hillside villages right to the edge of Lake Geneva, stretching from the north shores of lake Geneva to the Rhône Valley.

*Lavaux is the home of Dézaley.

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The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Cabernet franc

Cabernet franc, one of the Bordeaux grapes, is a bit like the little brother of the Cabernet sauvignon grape. Cabernet franc is usually used for blending.

Gouais Blanc

A promiscuous grape. Not good for much, but with a long, long line of descendents, including the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Possibly from Croatia, it’s called Heunisch Weiss in Central Europe.

The name Gouais is comes from ‘gou’, which is a scornful word from old French referring to its standing as the grape of the peasants. Very prevalent in the Ile-de-France and in the Champagne during the Middle Ages and perhaps brought into Valais by the descendants of the Ligurians.

Acidic and with little residual sugar, it’s primarily used to blend with low acidic wine to give it a bit of liveliness. Ampelographic studies in the old vineyards of Oberwallis have found a red Gwäss with the same characteristics as the white Gwäss. Almost abandoned, it survives in Haut-Valais hiding under the alias of Gwäss, thanks to Mr. Josef-Marie Chanton, http://www.chanton.ch/home.html

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.

And how's this for a description of the perfect wine? "It's like the perfect wife--it looks nice and is nice, natural, wholesome, yet not assertive; gracious and dependable, but never monotonous.

Anonymous

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

Fine Swiss Wine

Discover Switzerland’s odd grapes, small producers, and eclectic tastes