Theme Travel Around Switzerland – Wine and Cuisine – Part 2

Valais. Delicious wines by the Rhone River

Sometimes the sun turns Valais into a Mediterranean country. This is one of the reasons why there are so many wonderful specialties produced here.

None of the other 22 cantons can boast of such culinary richness as Valais. The reason for this is its special microclimate and various types of soil. The canton combines territories of arid Mediterranean climate and Alpine grounds. No wonder why the highest European vineyard (1150 meters above the sea level) is located here, in Visperterminen.

Valais is the large wine-making canton. Two fifths of all the Swiss wines are produced here. These are around 50 various wine types, including the old ones which you can barely find outside Valais (such as Petite Arvine, Amigne, Humagne blanc or Humagne rouge). The most famous types of wine are Chasselas (made of Fendant) and Pinot noir. Syrah, produced at the upper arms of the Rhone River, is also getting popular.

One place to visit here is Château de Villa renowned for its wine cellar with a unique collection of more than 500 wine types. All of them are served in a special pleasant atmosphere. The castle is located 15 minutes walk from Sierre station.

A good starting point for your trip around Valais is its capital, Sion.

Ticino. Excellent wines in the south of Switzerland.

In the south of Switzerland, where they speak Italian, you will find palm-tress and rich Merlot wine. During the old times the lands between Gotthard and Lombardy were very poor. Food served in local cafés and restaurants was invented by the paupers of the past. Many delicacies that are now well acknowledged and evaluated, were prepared of the poor assortment of products local people had. Such were polenta, risotto or pesce in carpione – marinaded and grilled fish. Rabbit, salami, mortadella ticinese (meat cut), cicitt sausages and sweet pie called Torta di pane are classic local delicacies. Some years ago roasted chestnuts regained their popularity. Excellent wines are also produced here – for instance, local red wine is a true specialty. Those who used to love Bordeaux are now attracted by Merlot del Ticino from the barrel, with its distinguished taste. Less than one fifth of local wines are produced from other grape types. This list of wines includes Bondola, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Chardonnay, Chasselas, Sauvignon and Semillon. Merlot bianco is especially distinguished.

When in Ticino, visit Fattoria l'Amorosa restaurant located on a 15-hectare terrace between Gudo and Sementina. Three hectares of its territory are occupied with Merlot, Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdit vineyards. Local wine cellar is placed in a rock and serves as an excellent storage for wines.

The capital of Ticino is Bellinzona.

Graubünden. Where the wind comforts vineyards.

In Graubünden they speak German, Italian and Romansh. The capital is Chur. This mountainous canton was greatly influenced by its neighbors from the north and the south. That is why there are so many delicacies here. Vine (including Blauburgunder (Pinot noir), Riesling and Chardonnay) would not grow here without warm winds. The most famous vine types are grown in Malans, Jenins, Maienfeld and Fläsch, but the only original local wine is Completer. Nowadays wine-makers produce such wines as Pinot gris and blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Caranoir.

Typical dishes, like all around the Alpine regions, are simple rural ones. However, they are very popular with tourists. Traditional Graubünden dried meat, cheese, barley soup, pizokel are delicious.

Alter Torkel wine bar is located 5 minutes from Jenins in the very heart of its vineyards. Vast choice of local wines, typical Graubünden snacks, and a small wine-making museum.