A taste for heritage boosts a change in our tastes for wine.

A taste for heritage boosts a change in our tastes for wine.

I was reminded that just the other day that I have been somewhat absent from my writings of late, maybe busy with lots of lots of social media, maybe distracted who knows.

But I was prompted by an amazing set of facts that I came across which reminded me of the uniqueness of many of the wines that we deal with as a company on a daily basis.

Most of you would know of my passion for Swiss wines & indeed all things Swiss.

The sad thing is that we were at an event being hosted by the Swiss Ambassador to Australia & a number of leading business leaders last week where we provided the wines and when asked very few in the room knew that:

a) That Switzerland actually made wine.

b) That they were in fact drinking Swiss wine.

c) That if they did make wine that the quality would be quiet poor.

d) Do they grow grapes as I thought all they did was make watches, chocolate & chesses?

Should we be offended?

Should Swiss wine makers be offended?

Well no is the answer to these questions.

The Swiss wine industry is growing up very rapidly and the influence of a new range of up and coming young wine makers is reshaping a very traditional wine industry and wine making techniques.

Swiss wine for many years has been a very localized industry and has been driven by very small demand hence quantity has driven the production of many Swiss wines as opposed to quality. Many of the wines produced never leave the village that they are produced in, little alone the Canton and indeed the country.

Productions costs for wine in Switzerland are often up to 10 times higher than say their neighbors in Italy and France, so often their wines are priced much higher which has stopped many people from trying these wines.

For those people that have tried Swiss wine in the past (which are quiet few unless you have lived there), Swiss wine has been described to me as being “underwhelming”.

I am glad to say that this is not the case as we are certainly seeing a greater stunning array of very indigenous wines both being more readily available & developed.

Wines from Jean- Rene Germanier, Union Vinicole Cully and Domain Croix Duplex but to mention but a few are great examples of how far Swiss wine has come in the past few years.

Did you know that Switzerland has 39 distinct indigenous wines, many of which have existed for centuries?

They are made up of names that you would not readily know or even understand such as Petite Arvine, Humagne, Chasselas, Garanoir, Plant Robert, Mueller Thurgau, Gameret, Cornalin, Diolioner & Amigne but to mention a few.

The Swiss wine industry is amongst one of the most bio-diverse wine producers in the world especially given its size and population. When compared to France (204) or Italy (377) its industry and wines are often dwarfed but that does not mean that they cannot produce great wines

On the other hand Germany also by size and production is not considered a large producer but has over 76 indigenous grape and wine varieties & they to like the Swiss produce a great number of high quality & stunning wines.  (but that is that subject of another story)

Compare this to Australia who also make great wines, we have no indigenous wines or grape varieties as our wine makers have done a wonderful job in adapting what is often grown elsewhere and made it their own.

The globalization of wine has created a very unique opportunity and appreciation of many local & indigenous grape varieties as it has allowed us for the first time to taste & try wines that we may never had the opportunity to do in the past.

The trick or should I say balancing act here is getting people past making comparisons as often I am asked “ what does this compare to?” Often I find this a difficult question to answer as in fact it does not compare to anything that you may have experienced before.

An example of this is Chasselas, its not quite Chardonnay, nor Pinot Blanc, nor Sauvignon Blanc or even Riesling it is simply Chasselas. This may not be terribly helpful but I am a great believer that “ proof is in the tasting” as we can see illustrated in the following example.

Recently I gave a bottle of Swiss Dezaley Grand Cru Assemblage made by Union Vinicole Cully to a couple of young friends of ours.

By their own admission they are not big wine people but know what they like, have travelled and have a good working knowledge of most European wines.

They commented to me how much they enjoyed tasting a wine like this, which before tonight that they had never tried. As they had no preconceived ideas going in of what to expect they approached the wine with a fresh set of eyes yet with no expectation.

They commented to me the following, “ It’s true I’ve tasted my fair share of wines in the past but this is seriously the best I’ve ever had”, now that is what I call great feedback  & this just shows you that when you are prepared to give something new a go you might just enjoy it as Amy & Dan did with this great Dezaley.

Given that at the moment less than 1% of all Swiss wine is exported, we are in a unique situation as I think that we may be the single largest importer of Swiss wine currently in the world-, which is a real thrill.

Do yourself a favor, if you are in Switzerland especially Zurich in late October and early November you need to make sure that you take some time to visit the Wein Boats- this is where you will see Switzerland and her wines in one wonderful place.

Watch out for further posts on the Swiss wine industry and their wines in the future, as we will be showcasing some of the best that Switzerland has to offer.

Good, Better, Swiss we say.

Merci, Vielen Dank & Zum Wohl