GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – I’ve just posted the first of three articles about travel and wine touring in the region as a GenevaLunch feature article; the other two will appear Friday 6 February and Monday February: Swiss wines, followed by the Friendship Triangle on the area where France, Switzerland and Italy come together.
Here’s the first, on over the border French Jura wines and region.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The 7 Ceps wine competition is an interesting variation on the theme of “best of” that for most competitions means best of a grape variety or a politically defined region. These are wines from a geographically linked area, the vineyards in the greater Mont Blanc region with producers in Italy, France and Switzerland. The borders fall, and relationships among winemakerse are built. The competition, now in its 13th year, also aims to help wineries improve the quality of their products by providing information charts based on the results of the 70 judges’ assessments. All wineries entering the competition receive this, whether or not they have winning wines.
Here is the list of winners, announced 10 November, by category:
GENEVA, NEUCHATEL AND VALAIS
Gold: Domaine de Montmollin, Auvernier, AOC Neuchatel red, Pinot Noir, 2009
Silver: Jean Pierre Dalloz, Le Landeron, AOC Neuchatel red, Pinot Noir, 2011, Oeil de perdrix
Bronze: Cave Colline de Planzettes, Sierre, AOC Valais red, Pinot Noir, 2010
CANTON VAUD WHITE
Gold: Cave Cidis, Morges, AOC La Cote Blanc 2011, cuvée Euphonie
Silver: Uvavins Cave de la Cote, Morges, AOC la Cote Blanc 2011 cuvée Trilogie
Bronze: Artisans Vignerons d’Ollon, AOC Chablais Blanc 2011 cuvée Faveur des Muses
Bronze: Domaine de Marcelin, AOC la Cote Blanc 2010 cuvée Réserve blanche
CANTON VAUD RED
Gold: Domaine de Terre Neuve, Saint Prex, AOC La Cote Rouge 2010 Grand Cru Merlot
Silver: Domaine de Marcelin, Morges, AOC La Cote Rouge 2010 cuvée Esprit carmin
Bronze: Cave Cidis, Morges, AOC La Cote Rouge 2011 cuvée Gamaret Réserve
AOSTA VALLEY WHITE
Gold: Institut Agricole Régional, AostA, Vallée d’Aoste Blanc 2011 cuvée Perce Neige
Silver: Kiuva ScM, Arnad, Vallée d’Aoste Blanc Pinot Gris 2011
AOSTA VALLEY RED
Gold: Rosset Terroir, Aosta, Vallée d’Aoste rouge Doc 2010, Cornalin
Silver: Institut Agricole Régional, Aosta, Vallée d’Aoste rouge Doc, 2011, Pinot Noir
Bronze: Institut Agricole Régional, Aosta, Vallée d’Aoste rouge Doc, 2010, Fumin
Bronze: Coopérative de l’Enfer, Arvier, Vallée d’Aoste rouge, 2011, Enfer d’Arvier
Bronze: Maison Vigneronne Grojean, Quart, Vallée d’Aoste Doc Rouge, 2011, Torette Supérieur
AOC BUGEY CRU WHITE
Gold: Caveau Bugiste, Vongnes, AOC Bugey manicle blanc 2011, cuvée de l’Amandier
Silver: Caveau Bugiste, Vongnes, AOC Bugey manicle blanc 2011, cuvée des Eboulis
AOC BUGEY CRU RED
Gold: Caveau Bugiste, Vongnes, AOC Bugey manicle rouge 2009, cuvée la Truffière
AOC BUGEY RED
Gold: Domaine Monin, Vongnes, AOC Bugey rouge 2010, Cuvée les Falconnières
Silver: GAEC Maison Angelot, Marignieu, AOC Bugey rouge 2011, Cuvée reflet du Terroir
Bronze: Domaine Ducolomb, Lhuis, AOC Bugey rouge 2011
Bronze: Jean Christophe Pellerin, Saint Sorlin en Bugeu, AOC Bugey 2009 Cuvée Chatière
AOC BUGEY WHITE AND ROSE
Gold: Domaine DUCOLOMB, Lhuis, AOC Bugey blanc, Chardonnay, 2011
Silver: Caveau Sylvain Bois, Béon, AOC Bugey blanc, Roussette, 2011, Cuvée Coteau de Chambon
Silver: Terroirs de Chevigneux, Culoz, AOC Bugey Blanc, Chardonnay 2011, Domaine de Bel Air
Bronze: Domaine J Christophe Pellerin, Saint Sorlin en Bugey, AOC blanc, Chardonnay 2011
Bronze: Domaine JC Pellerin, Saint Sorlin en Bugey, AOC blanc, Chardonnay 2009, Cuvée Harmonie
COTEAUX DE l’AIN
Gold: Caveau Bugiste, Vongnes, IGP Coteaux de l’Ain Mondeuse blanche 2011
Silver: Caveau Bugiste, Vongnes, IGP Coteaux de l’Ain Molette 2011
Bronze: Domaine de Mucelle, IGP Coteaux de l’Ain Pinot Noir 2011
VIN DE SAVOIE, RED AND WHITE
Gold: Domaine du Vieux Pressoir, Les Marches, AOC vin de Savoie blanc, Roussette 2011, Cuvée Prestige
Silver: Domaine de Veronnet, Serrières en Chautagne, AOC vin de Savoie blanc, Roussette 2011
Silver: Stéphane Héritier, Clermont, AOC Vin de Savoie Frangy Blanc 2011
Bronze: Philippe Grisard, Cruet, AOC vin de Savoie Blanc, Roussette 2011
Bronze: Fils de René Quenard, Chignin, AOC vin de Savoie Chignin Bergeron Roussanne 2011
Gold: Emilienne Chappuis, Corbonod, AOC Seyssel blanc 2011
VIN DU JURA
Gold: SCV des Domaines Henri Maire, Arbois, AOC Vin Jaune Arbois, 2004
Silver: Domaine Richard, Le Vernois, AOC Vin du Jura blanc Savagnin 2007
Bronze: Domaine Richard, Le Vernois, AOC Vin du Jura blanc Chardonnay 2009
Bronze: SCV des Domaines Henri Maire, Arbois, AOC Arbois Blanc Chardonnay 2011
We’re eating more than 400 grams of cheese a week per person
BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss cheese industry benefited in the first five years of free trade with the European Union, a study released 30 October shows. Exports slowed down in 2011 due to the strong Swiss franc, but in the first half of 2012 the trade balance remained positive.
The free trade market also appears to have helped us eat more cheese in Switzerland, with consumption up 12 percent since 2000, as imports helped bring down prices and increase variety.
We now eat 21.44 kg of cheese per person per year in Switzerland, more than 400 grams per person a week. Germany and Italy come close and the French eat slightly more, according to figures from the Swissmilk.
The country produced 182,000 tons of cheese in 2011, up from 161,000 seven years earlier. Fresh cheese accounts for more than 25 percent of the total, the largest share, followed by semi-hard cheeses with 21.5 percent and Gruyere with nearly 16 percent of production.
Switzerland steadily lost market share in the EU during the 1990s. By 2003 it was exporting 40,000 tons of cheese to the EU annually, down by about 12,000 tons from a decade earlier. From 2002 to 2007 protective measures were gradually removed and by 2007 an open market was in place.
A study commissioned by the Office of Agriculture and carried out during the first six months of 2012 shows that as a result, Switzerland has a positive trade balance, both in terms of quantity and monetary value. It increased production and exports to the EU while also importing more cheese, mainly soft and fresh cheeses.
Swiss cheese imports into the EU have increased more than cheese imports overall, increasing Swiss market share, particularly in Germany, Austria and France.
The negative element for the Swiss in the trade shift is the fall in Emmenthal exports, down 32 percent between 2003 and 2011, while the export of all other cheeses combined has risen 100 percent. Emmenthal lost its earlier special status with the EU, which allowed conditional imports.
There are two types of wine investors: those who buy wines they want to explore, and who set them aside for later when the sensory value will have increased, and those who buy, gambling that the price will rise neatly. The investors will either sell it or open the bottle when it is time to impress someone, a second business transaction.
“Wine Investment and the Financial Crisis”: plenty of money, little drinking
A research paper published in 2009 and updated in March 2010 by University of Fribourg economics professor Jean-Philippe Weisskopf and co-author Philippe Masset has been making the news around the world, but wine lovers should beware that it’s about the second group, the investors. “Raise your Glass: Wine Investment and the Financial Crisis” , reviews how wine auction prices performed from 1996-2009 in order to determine if wine was a better investment than shares during this period. They concluded that wine was indeed a good investment, confirming popular media reports: “Our findings show that the inclusion of wine in a portfolio and, especially more prestigious wines, increases the portfolio’s returns while reducing its risk, particularly during the financial crisis.”
The study covers a longer period than earlier ones and includes “two significant economic boom phases (1996-2001 and 2003-2007) as well as two major economic and financial crises (2001-2003 and 2007-2009).”
My initial reaction: this is bad news for lovers of fine wine, with investors driving prices so high that top wines are often unavailable to all but the very wealthy – who are not necessarily winelovers.
The Indelicato fine food and wine shop is a Geneva institution. Everyone in Pâquis knows Marguerite and Rosario, and the locals affectionately refer to Marguerite as “Mama”.
The attraction is not only Marguerite’s endearing personality, however. The shop offers high quality Italian fare that prompts many wealthy, loyal customers like kings and ambassadors to send their chauffeurs to pick up pasta delivered fresh from Italy twice a week, as well as top quality fruit and vegetables. When Sicilian tomatoes are in season (for instance, now), this is about the only place in Geneva you can get the non-greenhouse type. Several varieties are available for different uses – salads, cooking, etc. When you taste these tomatoes you understand why tomatoes are classified as fruit, because they are as intense and sweet as a ripe red strawberry right off the vine. The Sicilian eggplants are also worth a try; they take on a sweet, almost confit, taste when cooked, and it is not necessary to salt them before cooking.
An ever-changing cornucopia of pasta is on offer – always between 30 and 40 varieties from regions all over Italy. If you’re out to discover something new, try the Trofie alle Castagne, made with chestnut flour, and one of the oldest and most typical pastas from the Liguria region, or the Croxetti, from the historic mountain town of Varese Ligure in the same region, which look rather like large coins with their patterned stamps, a great accompaniment to roasted meat au jus (pour a little of the jus over the pasta).
For olive oil connoisseurs, a wide range from all producing regions is to be had. Balsamic vinegars are not lacking, ranging from simpler, less expensive ones for cooking to exquisite aged ones, such as the 40-year-old Pier Luigi Sereni, tasted by the drop on a ripe red strawberry or a crostini. High-quality condiments and sauces – including a large assortment of pestos and tomato-based sauces, onion jam, Balsamic jelly, red bell pepper jam, just to name a few – make it easy to whip up a quick but delicious pasta dish, or prepare simple but tasty starters or aperitif accompaniments. The jams and confits can also be added to consommés or served with one of the fine Italian cheeses on offer, and to make original crostini and antipasti using the fine selection of ham and sausages.
The wine cellar will transport you immediately from Geneva to Italy. Its traditional Italian-style construction and perfect temperature and humidity control allow Rosario to offer a full range of Italian wine stored under optimal conditions, from affordable, good-quality wines to top-of-the-line wines cherished by collectors.
White wines, such as the Canus Friulano or Pinot Grigio, or the Villa Raiano Greco di Tufo, will provide a pleasant change from French or Swiss varietal wines when served with fish or chicken dishes. Red wines, such as Fontodi‘s rich Vigna del Sorbo, characterful thanks to its 100% Sangiovese varietal composition, or their less intense Chianti Classico, with only 85% Sangiovese and 15 % Cabernet Sauvignon, both go well with grilled meat or pesto dishes, and offer highly affordable options.
In the mid-price range, treat yourself to a Flaccianello della Pieve 2005, with endless layers of fruit and long in the mouth. If your taste buds really pine for more and your pocket allows, try the 1995 Conterno Giacomo Barolo, a classic, or Giuseppe Quintarelli‘s 1993 Amarone della Valpolicella, full of character and intense flavors, somewhat resembling a Madeira or Port yet still characterized as a dry wine, and which can stand up to strong flavors like wild boar or dark chocolate.
Italian gourmet food, wine and catering; delivery for large orders
12, rue des Pâquis
Tel./Fax +41 22 732 4591 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Recipe of the Week:
Trofie alle Castagne pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans
Serves 4 people
2 jars of Genoese pesto for 500 g of Trofie
3 potatoes, cut into thin Julienne strips
75 g of French-style green beans, ends cut off and cut in half
Fresh Parmesan cheese to taste
Boil 3 liters of water, adding salt. Add potato strips and Trofie pasta. Cook for 10 minutes. Add green beans. In a separate pan (I use a wok), heat pesto sauce on very low heat. Cook pasta/vegetable mixture until all is al dente. Drain. Add mixture to warm pesto sauce. Continue to heat on very low heat, turning gently, for 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Season to taste with freshly grated Parmesan.
Wine suggestion: Canus Pinot Grigio or Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo, depending on whether you prefer red or white