Book Review: Cépages Suisses: Histoires et Origines (2017)

Cépages Suisses—Histoires et Origines  by José Vouillamoz  Éditions Favre (2017) When you think about Switzerland and its wine you probably don’t think of the incredible diversity of its vineyards (252 cultivars) or the tiny area that contains them (just under 15,000 hectares—the same as in Alsace). It’s safe to say the sheer volume of diverse […]

An Homage to Chasselas (and Indirectly to Roast Chicken)

Hang around Switzerland long enough and you’ll eventually grapple with the Chasselas riddle: Why is this famously ordinary table grape—and the famously neutral wine that comes from it—given star billing in Swiss vineyards and held in such high regard by its proponents? After living with Chasselas for a while, I can offer some clues. Chasselas is […]

What’s Happening at the Wine Advocate?

After years as a lapsed Wine Advocate junkie (Parker free since 1992) I recently re-upped when it became apparent that the online newsletter is committed to covering Swiss wine in a meaningful way. I’m encouraged that Stephen Reinhardt, their Swiss commentator, appears to be passionate about the subject and has a pretty good grasp of […]

Swiss Wine: Make It Good and They Will Come

2017 is beginning to feel like a breakout year for Swiss wine. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate kicked things off in January (Issue 228) with a comprehensive tasting of Swiss wine, a friendly tip of the hat to our local pinot noir, a gala gathering of the clan at its Matter of Taste event in Zürich and an implied […]

The Hailstone Shield: Anathema to Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards?

Recently the Association National d’Etude et de Lutte contre les Fléaux Atmosphériques (ANELFA) announced the purchase and installation of 125 silver iodide generators in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the occurrence of destructive hail storms in the vineyards of Burgundy. On the surface this would appear to be a wise investment but is there an ancillary cost?  At least one commentator thinks so. Wine-influencer Tom […]

Chardonnay in Switzerland: No Respect

To the casual observer of Swiss wine the primacy of pinot noir among the red varieties suggests that its stablemate, chardonnay, enjoys the same favored status among the whites. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though chardonnay ranks as the fifth most planted variety in the world—almost 200,000 hectares spread among countless winemaking nations—it’s monopolized by […]