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Peter Keller trend report: Remarkable scenery, remarkable wines

Remarkable scenery, remarkable wines

Shortly before you arrive in Lausanne by train from Bern, you cannot help but be captivated by the spectacular view of the terraced vineyards and their stone retaining walls rising steeply from the shores of Lake Geneva. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful landscapes in Switzerland, with something to entice everyone – and especially those of us who enjoy wine.
This is where top winemakers produce Dézaley, one of the finest and best-cellaring Chasselas. Lavaux’s breathtaking beauty and long history have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The French-Swiss wine region is not the only one to have gained this distinction. Many others also embody “uniqueness, authenticity and integrity”, including Portugal’s Douro. Terraced vineyards cling to the imposing steep slopes on both sides of the valley of the Douro River. Vines grow on 45,000 hectares of distinctly poor slate soil. Their indigenous grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Tinta Barocca, give rise to wines full of character, above all the sweet port wine world-famous for this appellation. In recent decades, however, there has been something of a renaissance in dry reds and a more localised resurgence in whites. One of the best new producers in the Douro valley is Secret Spot Wines, a project by winemaker Rui Cunha and viticulturalist Gonçalo Sousa Lopes. They set out to acquire grapes from obscure plots planted with a mixture of varieties and make unique wines from what are known as “field blends”. That they do so to a very high standard is proven by the Edition Peter Keller V by Secret Spot Reserva 2016, available exclusively from Mondovino for CHF 19.95.
The natural beauty of wine-growing regions is always worth a visit, not only in Douro, but also in Burgundy. The “climats” in the home region of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Climat” is an expression peculiar to Burgundy and denotes a vineyard plot that has a distinct name, history, taste and place in the viticultural hierarchy. The narrow stretch of land between Dijon and Santenay charms with its idyllic scenery, tranquility and resonant names such as Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin and Puligny-Montrachet - music to the ears of many wine lovers. Other UNESCO Heritage Sites are home to first-class wines too, such as Hungary’s Tokay region, with its sweet wines, Wachau in Austria, famous for its monumental whites and Piedmont with its long-lived, Nebbiolo-based Barolos and Barbarescos. There really can be no doubt that winegrowing areas are a great place to be in every possible way!