Swiss wine regions

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We explained yesterday that Switzerland received significant influence from the old world countries surrounding it. Today let’s explore every wine region in Switzerland in more detail.

Valais

Along the upper valley of the river Rhône lies the region Valais. This region holds the biggest vine planting area in Switzerland, and is one of the wine regions with the highest altitude in the world. Vineyards are mostly terraced and planted on the north bank of the river, exposed to plenty of sunshine.

Image: Vignes at Sion, Valais by Valéry Héritier
and adapt under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 Unported license

The neutral grape Chasselas (known locally as Fendant) is widely planted in Valais, and can be exciting if drunk young. Well-concentrated Sylvaner (Johannisberg), together with local varieties such as Petite Arvine, Amigne and Humagne Blanche, is responsible for some outstanding late-harvest sweet wines.

Pinot Noir is the principal red variety in Valais. The jammy, ripe local specialty Dôle is a blend of mainly Pinot Noir and some Gamay. Dôle blanche, on the other hand, is a rosé made from these two red grapes (or one of them).

Vaud

The region Vaud is situated on the northern shore of Lake Geneva. The various soil types give its wines colorful mineral characteristics. Again Chasselas dominates the plantings, while Gamay is the most important red variety.

Other Wine Producing Areas

The region that is at the westernmost point of Switzerland, Geneva enjoys much flatter vineyards and ample sunshine. Gamay is especially successful, responsible for not only fine reds, but also some stand-out rosés. This area is rich with white varieties, among which Chasselas and Müller-Thurgau (Riesling-Sylvaner) are the most widely-planted.

The Italian-speaking region Ticino is known for its light, fine, easy-to-drink-style Merlot, whereas the German-speaking regions produce some excellent Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder) and Müller-Thurgau.

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