This white grape has been associated with Valais for 400 years and is now firmly established in the viticultural landscape of the Rhône Valley.
A monument to wine from Valais
Whether vinified dry, as a “Flétri” with a delicate residual sweetness or botrytized, Petite Arvine wines are among the best Valais has to offer. The variety was first mentioned in Valais as far back as 1602. The name probably derives from the Arve river, along the valley of which the variety may have first arrived in Valais. The grape began to be called “Petite” in the 19th century in order to distinguish it from Arvine Grande, a variety now no longer cultivated.
Petite Arvine – the diva
This grape is a real diva. Late to ripen, it demands the best growing sites, hates rich soils and does not cope well with dry conditions. However, when climate and terroir meet its exacting demands, Petite Arvine can develop outstanding characteristics. The fresh, lively wines with notes of citrus, grapefruit and rhubarb and a fine, salty minerality in the finish are a hit both in Switzerland and abroad. No wonder then that the hectarage of Petite Arvine vines has quadrupled since the 1990s. Petite Arvine grapes are currently planted on around 160 hectares in Valais. This variety is also popular in other cantons, with small plantings in Geneva, Vaud and Ticino. Petite Arvine is also grown in the Aosta Valley in Italy.
Good quality wines with high must weights can also be barrique-aged, adding an entirely new dimension to the wine alongside delicate notes of toasted oak. The wines have a very good ageing potential. Grapes that are allowed to overripen on the vine and shrivel can be vinified as Flétri styles. This classic Swiss sweet wine is also vinified from other grape varieties such as Amigne, Pinot gris and Silvaner. A Petite Arvine makes an excellent accompaniment to freshwater fish, poultry and soft cheeses. This sweet white wine from Valais is also great for drinking with raclette and harmonizes brilliantly with blue-veined cheeses.