One of the classic grapes of France, Sauvignon blanc is planted in most wine regions of the world. It produces a wide range of wine styles.
In contrast to its native France where it wasn’t too successful as a wine grape, the Chasselas shines in Switzerland. Basically neutral in character, it reflects the nuances of the terroirs where it’s grown. Chasselas may be one of the first grape varieties ever cultivated and is one of, if not the dominant wine grapes grown in Switzerland.
A vigorous and adaptable vine from Burgundy, Chardonnay grows pretty much everywhere that wine is made. Although production is not so high in Switzerland, award-winning wines have come out of Geneva, Valais, and Neuchâtel.
Another delivery from Rome, there are actually three Arvine grape varieties, only two used for wine production: Grand Arvine, with the larger berries, and Petit Arvine, with the, you guessed it, smaller berries.
Grand Arvine gets criticized for displaying little character, whereas the Petit Arvine tends to have a fuller bouquet and lower acidity] In a blind tasting, Petit Arvine generally kicks ass against its plumper brother. The unloved Arvine Brune has faded from the scene.
Arvine is also an excellent grape for late harvest wine, which can be cellared.
Aligoté, a crossing of Pinot noir and Gouais blanc, originates from Burgundy and spread throughout France. It’s cold tolerant and ripens early, but is susceptible to fungal disease.
Called “Plant du Rhin” when it was brought to Geneva in the early 1900s, it is now something of a specialty in Geneva giving us an acidic, refreshing wine. It can be drunk young.
When blended, Aligoté adds acidity and structure to a wine.