Müller-Thurgau: Then and Now

I would argue that the much-maligned cross of Riesling x Silvaner, better known as Müller-Thurgau, is a dual national. There’s no doubt the variety was born in Germany, but what’s not so well known is that it came of age in Switzerland. It was created by a Swiss scientist, Hermann Müller, at Geisenheim in the […]

Profile: Clos de Tsampéhro (Flanthey, Valais)

It’s not exactly a secret garden — situated as it is mid-slope, in the middle of Valais — but Tsampéhro isn’t obvious either. From a distance it looks like any other vineyard along the Coteaux de Sierre, but upon closer inspection you might notice the low stone wall that surrounds it or the vibrant green, […]

Swiss Wine: The Grand Cru Confusion Explained

One of the most frustrating (and intriguing) things about researching Swiss wine is the diligence required to gather information across three languages and twenty-six, more-or-less autonomous cantons. The bottom-up system of Swiss government means that each canton retains broad powers to regulate its own affairs. From there, it takes only a little digging to discover […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Rose By Any Other Name: The Confusing State of Grapes in Switzerland

Every time I travel to the States people want to know about Swiss wine. Many will ask without realizing that they already have some near iron-clad mis-information to overcome. One of the most common errors is a simple one: confusing Vaud with Valais, and vice versa. Others are surprised to learn that Riesling is not […]

Profile: Weinbau Markus Ruch (Neunkirch, Schaffhausen)

There’s no easy way to shake things up in conservative rural Switzerland. Take the wine business, for example, and the plight of Markus Ruch. Some nonplussed locals have asked how a newcomer has the nerve to charge more for his wine than do legacy wineries. Other local skeptics want to know why he plumps for biodynamics when conventional agriculture works just fine. Still others wonder why he does women’s work by […]

Parker Does Switzerland — The Wine Advocate Speaks: Part 2 — The Reds

Part 2 of “Parker Does Switzerland” is devoted to the nineteen red wines reviewed in common with these pages. They range from point noir to merlot with cornalin and syrah thrown in. Wine Advocate staff writer, Stephen Reinhardt, also reviews a rare gamay bio-type, Plant Robert—from there he goes on to incorrectly assert that gamay is only significant in Geneva. That’s […]

Parker Does Switzerland — The Wine Advocate Speaks: Part 1 — The Whites

The Robert Parker/Wine Advocate brand couldn’t have timed it any better. First, stir up the usually dignified Swiss wine community with a rare review of 200 or so of its wines, then time publication of the results to coincide with February’s “Matter of Taste” event in Zürich. Voilà, sold out event. Never mind that Parker […]