Swiss Grapes — Grosse Arvine: One Man’s Mission

If you’ve ever entertained thoughts of resuscitating a barely breathing grape variety you may want to give Olivier Pittet a call. He’s a fine young man and a terrific winemaker who, in his spare time, lays it all on the line for a little known cultivar that may never be commercially viable. He will no […]

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 […]

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 […]

Wine with Dinner: Randomly Chosen in September

A small group of wines for this month's Randomly Chosen feature shouldn't fool you into thinking there hasn't been a lot to drink—there has—just not enough of the good stuff. I'll try to remedy that on my trip to California in the beginning of October. In the meantime this coming month will feature my round-up […]

Swiss Grapes — Le Salon de la Petite Arvine 2016

A recent tasting at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Geneva brought together sixteen of the twenty-three members of the marketing collective Fully Grand Cru—devoted champions and enthusiastic purveyors of the native alpine specialty, petite arvine. On offer was the new 2015 vintage and a masterclass featuring a few older vintages in a range of styles. […]

An Honest Attempt to Debunk the Myth That Swiss Wine Is Expensive

It’s a familiar refrain: Swiss wine is too expensive, it won’t sell. Crooners of that song, including the eminent and influential Jancis Robinson, repeat it so often that most consider it axiomatic. Well, I’m here to say that nothing can be further from the truth—at least some of the time. The Set-up The best way […]

MDVS 2016: Part 1 – White Wine

Mémoire des Vins Suisse—Geneva 2016 After 40 years and more than a thousand wine tastings later—after countless wine dinners, winery visits, seminars, panels, junkets and bottles opened at home—I am finally ready to confess that two of my favorite wine events ever are the two most recent MDVS gatherings: Mémoire and Friends in Zürich and […]

Wine with Dinner/Randomly Chosen in February

Epesses, La Trinquette 2013, Pascal Fonjallaz, Lavaux-Vaud (chasselas): From a parcel located adjacent to the Grand Cru vineyards of Dézaley. Shimmery, mid-straw color. An aroma of gen-mai-cha, white flowers, pear and nuts is front and center. A medium-bodied palate follows with pear-like fruit, roasted notes and a firm mineral streak typical of chasselas. The texture […]

Profile: Domaine Denis Mercier (Sierre, Valais)

The train ride from Geneva to Sierre is a must do for every train lover and wine enthusiast. In an amazingly short two hours some of the world’s most jaw-dropping vistas are at hand. First up, the spectacular vineyards of the Canton Vaud and the UNESCO World Heritage Site vineyards of Lavaux. As a backdrop, […]