Post by Lauren
The Lavaux wine region is definitely a place you should see in your lifetime. On our first trip to Switzerland we took a day trip to Montreux, and I remember driving through this area with my mouth wide open in awe.
This particular time was in the winter, but is truly beautiful any time of year. See the Schwingen in Switzerland blog for a recount on spending a summer day in Lavaux. I had the pleasure of hiking* in the Fall as well and it was gorgeous:
When The Captain and Swiss Miss were here, they had wanted to hike in Lavaux; however, the Geneva record low temperatures prevented us from doing so. Nonetheless, we still took the train from Geneva to Rivaz to check out the wine cellar, Vinorama.
Vinorama is cut into the side of the Lavaux countryside. It offers “dégustations” (tastings in French) of different Lavaux varieties. It also has a wine store offering hundreds of Lavaux bottles .
During our visit, they showed us a short film about the region’s wine production. It was incredibly well done, depicting the ups and downs of a local farmer throughout the year. This helped to bring personality to this special region and to understand how hard it is to farm the land.
The primary reason Lavaux is special are its terraces. They are steep, staggered, and require a lot of maneuvering on the part of the wine workers. I have seen similar ones in Cinque Terre in Italy, but no where else in the world have I seen anything like it. It takes incredibly hard work to farm that land – both in the upkeep on a slanted slope and transportation of the grapes in the harvest. And they have been doing it since the 11th Century.
The film explained that it is the terrace that affects the taste of the wine. The heat from its walls warms the earth underneath the vines. This as well as the sun’s reflection off of Lake Geneva bodes well for the grapes.
Vinorama offers tastings in white, red and combinations. The tasting that we did included the following:
Epesses – La braise d’enfer
Vilette – Clos du roches
Domaine Moulin la Vignette Lutry
Lettres des Noblesse (malbec/cab) st saphorin
Epesses plant robez blaise duboux
My favorite was hands down the Lettres des Noblesse. However at 40 CHF per bottle, it didn’t make it into our cellar on that particular day.
A few days after our trip, my French tutor and I were discussing the Lavaux region. She is French and advised that of course, any agriculture product in Switzerland is very expensive. I totally agree with that statement. The terraced type of farming and harder labor can’t lend to an economical product. However, with the magic that can be found here in Lavaux, I’d also say that their wine is certainly worth it.
*For hiking: we got off the train at St. Saphorin and walked to the Lutry station. It was four hours and we had magnificent views every step of the way. This of course could be shortened or you could do the wine stop as we did.