My recent overnight trip to Bündner Herrschaft, the northern portal to Graubünden, was a legitimate test of the Swiss transportation system. The outward trip was timed to the minute with train changes in Zürich and Landquart and a Postal Bus rendezvous in Malans. Every leg was on time with no more than six minutes wait between any connection. Sheer perfection. Total travel time: 4 hours and 15 minutes.
The inward trip was equally satisfying and completed in just 4 hours with Bad Ragaz as a start and train changes in Sargans and Zürich.
Spoiler alert: with such breathtaking efficiency, I want to do it over again. Here’s the clincher—charming villages, small family wineries with world-class wine, spas, lovely restaurants and winzerstuben—await; and with absolutely none of the pretension and you’re-not-worthy attitude you get at some of the more trendy venues. What a pleasure.
My purpose on this trip, however, was to visit two of my favorite local winzers, Martin Donatsch and Hansruedi Adank. These are folks with a worldview of wine and tastes that go beyond their respective villages. Their work is truly special and places them among the elite of Swiss wine. I will report on my visits with them shortly.
In the meantime this little exercise is about my downtime. After a long day of tasting wine a cold brew is practically a requirement for the seasoned wine professional and posers like me. I found a local lager from the Brauerei Chur and settled in for dinner.
A meal at the Sardona Alpenhotel (aka: Bruno’s Küchen Latein) in Bad Ragaz is a deeply satisfying exercise in body and soul decompression. Without much thought my mind drifted in one direction. The house specialty “Sardona Schnitzel” is an off-beat riff on the classic Viennese version that includes a slice of air-dried local ham, tomato and Raclette cheese sandwiched between two thin cutlets of breaded local calf. This one was pan-fried in good butter to crisp perfection. It is one of my favorite meals anywhere, anytime. A generous helping of soothing spätzli more than off-set a “bouquet” of over-steamed carrot, haricot vert, fennel and broccoli.
After another beer it was off to la-la land—but not before I snapped a picture on the walk (4 kilometers) home to my hotel in Maienfeld. I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever taken. I think it looks like a painting.