Uniquely for Switzerland, this land is divided between the cantons of Fribourg and Vaud. In this case small does not mean inferior. Far from it, in fact. A significant number of young and innovative winemakers are causing something of a stir with their first-rate products. There are 24 wineries in total. With its sandstone soil, the pastoral, idyllically located wine-growing area around Lake Murten is often described as the most dynamic in the Swiss wine landscape.
One of the drivers of this dynamism is the Cru de l’Hôpital winery, which has been the property of the citizens and commune of Murten since the 15th century. The name dates from the same period and recalls a time when the money earned from the wines was used to benefit the local hospital. The patients were also permitted the occasional glass for medicinal purposes. Today the historic property is managed by winemaker Christian Vessaz, who was handed the cellar keys at the age of just 25 in 2002. He repaid the confidence placed in him by making Cru de l’Hôpital the producer of choice for Mont Vully wines. The most important grape varieties grown by the 13-hectare property, which has been biodynamic since 2012, are Chasselas, Pinot Noir and Traminer. This latter wine has been selected by the Mémoire des Vins Suisses association as one of its “Mémoire” wines.
Other wineries are also attracting attention alongside Cru de l’Hôpital. One is the family-run Javet & Javet. The property is managed by Etienne Javet. The second Javet in the winery name is an expression of gratitude to Etienne’s family for their support and help with various tasks. The property’s best wines are undoubtedly its Pinot Noirs, but many other varieties perform well too. The Gault Millau guide chose Etienne Javet as its rookie of the year for 2021. Fabrice Simonet from Le Petit Château received the same honour three years ago. Working with his brother Stéphane, he makes some trailblazing wines. The inventive and committed pair are also not afraid to demand nearly CHF 100 for a premium wine. And why should they be given the excellent quality? Just as excellent but more affordable is their outstanding Diolinoir 2018, which has been chosen for the Edition Peter Keller and is exclusively available from Mondovino.