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 […]

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 […]

Heritage Grapes: A Return to Diversity

The 20th century trend toward monoculture and industrial farming has touched nearly all aspects of the agrarian economy including viticulture and the wine industry. Fortunately, the citations and figures below may represent a high water mark as the forces for agro-biodiversity gain momentum and start to chip away at these startling numbers. Out of around […]

Profile: Cru de l’Hôpital (Môtier, Fribourg)

The angelic mien and soft-spoken pitch of Christian Vessaz, winemaker and director of Cru de l’Hôpital in the village of Môtier, does not fully assuage a gut feeling I have that beneath the reserve are two frantically paddling feet—a not inappropriate image in this lakes region of the Swiss plateau. It also happens to be […]

Mémoire & Friends: Zürich 2016

This year marks an end to the collaboration between Zürich’s Kongresshaus and the Mémoire & Friends annual gathering. One of the city’s most iconic facilities is headed for a retrofit and remodel while event organizers scramble for a new home. As of this writing there is still no secured venue which, sadly, places next year’s […]

Profile: Weingut Familie Hansruedi Adank (Fläsch, Graubünden)

  I don’t usually quibble with subjective “Best Of” lists but I’ve got to argue with this one. To omit the Adanks is something of a glaring oversight. If this was the 25 or 50 Best Vignerons in Switzerland list, then fine. But surely they are among the Top 100. Especially when some of the […]

Profile: Weingut Donatsch (Malans, Graubünden)

Back in the day when a young musician/vintner named Thomas Donatsch introduced oak barrels and chardonnay grapes to the cellars of Bündner Herrschaft he was considered a pariah. Nowadays, in the vernacular of the tech world, he would be celebrated as a disrupter. Such was the opprobrium he endured that fines and official censure followed. […]

Wine with Dinner: Randomly Chosen in August

The End of Summer Approaches Another month is in the books and new experiences are ready to share. The August round-up focuses on Geneva which I'm told I don't pay enough attention to. I actually do have plans to profile a couple of Geneva producers so please stay tuned. Later this month my profiles of […]