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 […]

Profile: Weinbau Thomas Studach (Malans, Graubünden)

To many foreigners Switzerland is a land of carefully cultivated myths and legends punctuated by beautiful mountain landscapes. The would be traveler, without knowing it, is seduced by marketing—eagerly shared by travel writers and recycled by hyper-efficient feedback loops. Thus, the watch industry and train system feed—and are fed by—the aura of Swiss precision and […]

Profile: Litwan Wein (Oberhof, Aargau)

The first thing you notice about the wine country in Aargau is what you don’t notice: vineyards. That’s because Aargau, in contrast to the comparably-sized but contiguous vineyards of Bündner-Herrschaft and Klettgau, offers a different proposition—discreet micro-parcels scattered in hidden, often heavily wooded valleys. In other words, rather than monoculture, Aargau offers a diversity of […]

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. I need more. Buried in there somewhere is the observation that a focused photograph and a flawless wine both require technical proficiency to execute, but, without more, may fail to […]

Profile: Steiner Schernelz Village (Ligerz, Bern)

The public transport options in Switzerland are many and they’re famously efficient but is there one as quirky as the Vinifuni of Ligerz? Probably not. A funicular is a thoroughly Swiss contraption that runs on rails in steep and difficult to access areas. It’s a mechanized version of the mule. When one is available it’s […]

Some New Wine from Geneva’s “Monsieur Natural”: Paul-Henri Soler

It’s been awhile since I last visited with Paul-Henri Soler (see: Profile) so I recently caught up with him at his usual Saturday haunt, the Carouge Farmer’s Market in Geneva. Unlike a lot of wine on offer at such venues, Paul-Henri’s are really attention-grabbing and worth exploring. He’s very engaging and encourages impromptu tasting among […]

Profile: Cave Caloz (Miège, Valais)

A recent visit to Miège was my first trip to the vineyards since the devastating frosts of late April. From all reports I expected worse but was still struck by the sheer randomness of it all. Spring began optimistically with an early bud break, courtesy of a lengthy and uncharacteristic warm spell, followed by an […]

Mémoire des Vins Suisses: Bern 2017

It’s time once again to raid the cellars of generous MDVS members who, each year, invite wine media types, professionals and knowledgeable enthusiasts to taste through a mini-vertical of one of their signature wines. This year’s event was held at the Kursaal Event Center in the lovely capital city of Bern. Kursaal is an impressive meeting space that overlooks the […]

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 […]

Profile: La Maison du Moulin (Coinsins, La Côte, Vaud)

It’s three weeks into the new year and the weather is already historic—the coldest January in 30 years—and on this day it’s even colder with bone-numbing winds. Fortunately the family car is equipped with new snow tires, 4-wheel drive and GPS. All three are necessary with La Bise Noire in full fury and snow drifts obliterating […]