A Wine of Note: Domaine Mermetus

2017 Altesse, Une Touche de Fantaisie, Domaine Mermetus (Lavaux, Vaud) Like a lot of orphan grapes, Altesse suffers from some persistent, seemingly unshakeable origin stories. But thanks to modern genetic sleuthing, we can say for sure it’s not from Cyprus—which means it never hitchhiked with Count Amadeus VI on his way home from a 14th-century […]

Clos des Gondettes (Satigny, Geneva)

Look at a current political map of Europe and you might notice the outline of a limp handshake (choose your own piece of anatomy) where western Switzerland meets France. It looks limp for a reason. As a one time exclave—entirely surrounded by France and the old Duchy of Savoy—Geneva existed as an on-again, off-again city-state […]

A Day at the Cooperative–Provins Valais

It’s not sexy, in fact, it’s one of those boring statistics that puts most people to sleep, even if it is true: more than half of all wine made in Italy, France and Spain combined is made in cooperatives. That’s a lot of wine but much of it is dreck destined for distillation, flex-tanks, or […]

Domaine de la Ville de Morges: A Natural Pivot

A wise winemaker/photographer friend given to platitudes offered up the following: A perfectly focused photograph and a flawless wine are of no interest to me without more. Buried in there somewhere is the concession that an in-focus photograph and a flawless wine require some technical proficiency to execute but without more may fail to excite. […]

Vinea On Tour: A Few Stand-Out Wines

The Vinea road-show organizers took pity on me this year and finally staged one of its tastings in my back yard of Geneva. Vinea is a Swiss wine trade organization that sponsors tastings of its member’s wines in various locations throughout the year, culminating in the epic, two-day Grand Prix du Vin Suisse in Sierre. It […]

Les Vignes de Paradis: Chasselas From the Other Side of the Lake

Within minutes of my home in the Geneva suburb of Vésenaz are four vineyards located along the south shore of Lake Geneva. Each is devoted to the iconic Swiss grape Chasselas, but not one is located in Switzerland. What gives? The four—Crépy, Marignan, Marin and Ripaille—are crus in the neighboring French département of Haute-Savoie. Each […]

Domaine La Colombe: Pinot Gris “La Colombe Grise” Retrospective — 2015-2006

Back in the formative years of my professional career Pinot Gris was a life-jacketed castaway clinging to a barrel stave in the vast sea of wine. Its most significant presence was in Alsace, but even there it was treading water and a second fiddle to Riesling. Gewürztraminer was an afterthought and continues to flail close […]