On Wine and Switzerland

Three months ago, I stuffed 7 days worth of essentials into a backpack and spent a week traveling through the pristine countryside of Switzerland. It was the trip of a lifetime to spend a week roaming through one of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes. I had a few bucket list items to accomplish while I was there, too. Some items on my list were silly: like singing and running up a grassy, green knoll in the Alps a lá Maria in “The Sound of Music” (I couldn’t resist).

Other goals of mine included indulging in the local food and wine from the region, which was obviously a delicious task to accomplish. With so many wine regions around the world, it’s a fun goal to experience as many as possible. Switzerland was no different. As a neighbor of France, Switzerland shares similar grape-growing terrain. With that in mind, you really don’t hear much about Swiss wine since less than 2% of their production is ever exported. In the States, I can take advantage of trying wines from most wine regions, but I knew this would probably be one of my only chances to try Swiss wine.

We flew into Zurich and traveled southwest until we reached Lake Geneva (Swiss wine country) on our last day. As we traveled south, I tried wine in every Alpine town we visited. To be honest, I went into my wine tastings completely blind. With most labels in French or German, I could really only decipher a few key words about what I was drinking. The language barrier actually ended up providing a unique experience: I had to rely solely on my taste buds to determine what flavors and aromas I could detect in the wine. There weren’t any tasting notes to influence my perception of the wine. It was pretty liberating!

It was surreal to finally reach wine country on our final full day. We took a train from Bern to Lausanne, which wrapped through rolling green slopes and perfectly architected vineyards. While I had tasted various wines throughout the duration of our trip, it was a breathtaking experience to see the vineyards that the wine had come from.

Three months later, I’m missing the Swiss landscape and culture, the traditional cheesy rosti I thoroughly enjoyed and of course, the jammy, rich Swiss wine. If there was some way to join a Swiss wine club so I could reminisce about my trip on the regular, I would do it in a heartbeat (although Food and Wine did compile this list of Swiss wines you can find in the U.S., so I’ll be taking advantage of that).

Now when I visit wine regions through the U.S., I won’t hesitate to join a wine club or two on my trip. While it may not perfectly replicate my trip to the Swiss wine country, it will come pretty close. And at least I have the ability to have a piece of nostalgia delivered to my door several times a year. Until then, you’ll find me scouring airline prices for a flight back to Schwiez.

–Elyse Barton

–What is the best place you’ve ever traveled to?


Posted by , December 20, 2013 No comments

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