Exploring Switzerland’s Best-Kept Secret: Their Wines

You undoubtedly know Switzerland for its watches, chocolate, and mountain scenery. But did you know that Switzerland produces some of the best cold-weather wines in Europe? 

I recently joined Swiss Wine Promotions S.A. and Mike DeSimone & Jeff Jenssen for a three-course lunch to enjoy and celebrate Swiss Wines. The event took place at Ai Fiori on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Let me try to be brief by Exploring Switzerland’s Best-Kept Secret: Their Wines.

We were welcomed with a glass of Olivier Rothen Avalanche Fendant AOC Valais 2021. We tasted three white and three red Swiss wines paired seamlessly with exquisite food during lunch. I vividly recall the La Petite Arvine La Mourziere’s salinity and minerality, a remarkable balance between acidity and freshness of white wine that reminded me of an Austrian Wine but still very different. Everything stood out to me from the reds, from a Lighter Bodied Pinot Noir to a Bold Syrah, very similar to a Côte du Rhone Syrah and a Cabernet Franc Reserva 2020 single varietal wine that was the cherry on top. The dessert wine Jean Rene Germanier Amigne de Vetroz (2 Bees) was also a remarkable selection vintage 2021 that paired amazingly with a Mascarpone Ganache based dessert, indeed a sweet not too sweet moment to close a perfect lunch.

Mike DeSimone described Swiss Wines, also known as Alpine Wines, as the pinnacle of European Wines. I was thrilled to be in the company of two esteemed wine journalists, Mike and Jeff, and my interest in Swiss Wines only grew during the lunch celebrated amidst Swiss Wine Week 2023. At Aifiori were also joined by personalities from the Switzerland Consulate and the Swiss Wine Consortium.

It was an exciting opportunity to try Swiss Wine, but we learned they produce at least half the amount necessary to satisfy domestic demand. Currently, they only export less than 2% of their production.

What makes Swiss terroir diverse, and how does it affect the taste of the wines?  

Contrary to the general belief that we only imagine slopes of vines, Swiss terroir is diverse. The microclimates, soil types, customs, grape varietals, and know-how make Switzerland’s wine region different. Switzerland is located in the heart of the Alps. It borders France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Italy around this little nation of 8 million people. 

Switzerland’s 14,696 hectares of vineyards are split into six districts to help highlight this diversity.

As in other appellations, the names of the wine regions appear on the labels of four wine regions. For instance, Valais, Vaud, Geneva, and Ticino are some of the 6 Wine Regions.. The vineyards surrounding Neuchatel, Morat, and Bienne lakes are part of the Three Lakes Region.

Will there be an increase in Swiss wine exports to the U.S. in the future? 

 The question remains: will we get more Swiss Wine into the U.S.? A new wave of U.S. importers is highlighting the tiny Alpine nation. Due to this, it might do possibly to encourage and shake an industry to impulse the entire country to produce and export more . Nonetheless, when you are into Exploring Swiss Wine you are exploring one of the best in the world.

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