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 […]

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: 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]