The origin of this vine is not certain, however in Egypt there is a plant that has striking resemblances. Some claim that it originates from the Southern part of France, others from the Mâcon region.
One thing is for certain: it is at the moment the most widely distributed variety in Switzerland. Vigorous, the Chasselas produces large buds. When opening, the young reddish copper-coloured leaves give the vineyard this peculiar colouring, as if it were autumn. During the evenings in May its blossom is very sensitive to differences in temperature and humidity.
The bunch has round and golden fruits with a fine but firm skin and a crunchy and juicy flesh. When pressed between the fingers, the grape splits without crushing; this is why the name 'Fendant' (splitting) is also used for the Chasselas.
Contrary to other vines that have a well-pronounced flavour and character, the Chasselas has a rather neutral taste. This is the reason why wines made from Chasselas vines take on the taste of the local soil and do not display a same dominating flavour. The diversity of the soil of our region explains the charm of the proposed wines.
This vine is at times also wrongly called Chardonnay or Pinot-Chardonnay. Its origin is Burgundy and Champagne. It is very sensitive to late frosts and therefore may only be cultivated in a region that is particularly well exposed.
The bunches are small to medium and have a grape of green-yellowish colour, with a very sweet juice of a great fineness, which becomes even more pronounced if the grain is left to dry before the picking.
The Pinot Blanc is a wine of great luxury, a 'nobleman' that ages very well. Its pronounced acidity makes it a pleasant companion for fish dishes.
This white vine is typical of the Burgundy and Champagne regions, but is also found in numerous vineyards throughout the world. The Chardonnay is a vine of high quality that does not adapt itself well anywhere. It produces regularly, has a high sugar content but always keeps a relatively high acidity. It gives a noble and full-bodied wine. The aroma is generally very fine but may become heavy with age and if cultivated in certain soils.
Imported from the Alsace, the Auxerrois has cuneiformed leaves with a leaf stalk in a 'V'-shape; it is capable of a quality production even in less privileged areas and has a relatively low acidity. Its wines are well balanced, well structured, flexible and with a delicate aroma. The Auxerrois gives a sensation of great freshness, is dry and fruity and without a pronounced flavour.
Cultivated in 1965 at Pully (Domaine du Caudoz) by Mr. Jean-Louis Simon and selected by Mr. André Jaquimet amongst numerous similar seedlings, the Charmont is the result of the impregnation of the Chasselas by the pollen of the Chardonnay. The aim was to achieve a vine close to the Chassalas with a regular production, but richer in sugar and with a slightly higher acidity. The Charmont produces a slightly aromatic wine that is coarser than the Chasselas, elegant and fine.
The Riesling-Sylvaner is traditionally described as the result of a crossing between the Riesling Blanc and the Sylvaner Vert. The genetic techniques allow us to assert today, however, that in reality it is a crossing of Riesling with Chasselas. This vine resists well to diseases and parasites during flowering, but is sensitive to mildew. The bunches are medium size with grapes that are smaller than those of the Chasselas. The wine from this vine is coarse, aromatic, with a rich flavour, with a musked taste and a relatively low acidity. It may therefore be consumed young and fresh, but it also ages well.
Probably imported from Burgundy, the vine of the Pinot Gris has the same characteristics than the one of the Pinot Noir, from which it differs only by the colour of the grapes. On ripening the grapes of the Pinot Gris become grey-rose. The bunches are small and tight. The flesh is sweet and very aromatic. The yield is much lower than the one of the Chasselas. The wines from this vine are better known in the Valais under the name of Malvoisie and in other parts of the world as Tokaie.
The Pinot Noir originates from the Burgundy. It produces vigorous plants that support well the cold weather despite an early bursting of the buds. The bunches are small, packed and cylindrical with very tight grapes; they take on a violet colour at maturity, a colouring so dark that it appears black. The pulp is colourless; the colour is in the skin of the grain from which it is extracted during the fermentation. At full maturity, the flesh of the Pinot Noir has a great delicacy. The Pinot Noir produces one of the best red wines in our northern regions.
When impregnating the Gamay Noir by the pollen of the Reichensteiner (white), the objective was to achieve an early red vine, close to the Pinot Noir and the Gamay, but more resistant to rot. The Gamaret produces red wines that are complete and balanced, rich in colour and in tannin. They are suitable for a certain aging.