Les Trésors du Vin Suisse — Basel 2019

The Trésors tasting and its sister — the more inclusive Mémoire & Friends tasting — are my favorite events on the Swiss wine calendar. Both events reside under the Mémoire des Vins Suisses (MDVS) umbrella — a marketing-related non-profit founded and nurtured by a group of wine-loving journalists, producers and enthusiasts. Both tasting events, and the parties […]

Jungewinzer Im Rampenlicht — Young Swiss Winemakers in the Spotlight

Junge Schweiz Neue Winzer is a professional association of young (and new) Swiss winemakers dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and the sharing of experiences. It also serves as support group (because change is never easy), promotional arm and globally-attuned tasting panel. While real change is often slow to take hold in Switzerland, it can […]

Ticino Wine Festival — 2019

It may surprise some that at 266,000 hectares, Merlot is the second most planted grape variety in the world. A substantial portion of that number (74,550 hectares) is found in Bordeaux alone. When you add in the rest of France—especially the south where it enjoys a sizable footprint—it doesn’t leave much for the rest of […]

Pinot Noir from the Bielersee–It Runs In the Family

Standing in the vineyards between Ligerz and Twaan I often feel a little dreamy as I stare at the Bierlersee below and its signature landmark, St. Peter’s Island. From this vantage point I can only begin to imagine the serene isolation of someone living there alone, as the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau did for a short […]

Mondeuse: The Ghost of Grapes Past

The landscape of Swiss vineyards offered a more complicated puzzle in 1880 than it does today. Not only did viticulture suffer a massive decline during the decades of phylloxera infestation, it endured a mass migration from north to south and an alarming loss of diversity. First, some statistics. Zürich’s area under vine fell from 5,279 […]

Plantscher, Blanchier, Bordeaux Blanc, Gros Bourgogne: Who’s Your Daddy?

The ancient Swiss variety, Plantscher (aka Blanchier, Gros Bourgogne or Bordeaux Blanc), is perhaps best known for having nothing to do with Burgundy or Bordeaux. In fact, it’s an off-spring of the Hungarian grape Furmint and its likely place of origin is Central Europe. What makes the Plantscher story particularly vexing (and ironic) is that […]

Domaine La Colombe “Curzilles” Vertical — 2016-2010

Silvio Jermann’s iconic Vintage Tunina may not have been the first field blend I ever tasted, but it was the first that made me aware of the term. I remember ordering a bottle in 1977 at the high-concept, Milan-inspired trattoria, Ciao, on Union Street in San Francisco. I think it was the first vintage—1975—but it […]