March Madness: Swiss Wine From Chateau Chillon

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February on Avvinare was all about love. March will be a month of “madness” where I will write about some of the lesser known wines I have tasted and the experiences linked to those. Not all the wines I write about, especially since this is now a daily wine blog, will be lesser known but the lion’s share of them will be. Madness because some of this locations should absolutely be known both for their beauty but also for their wines. Château De Chillon, in Switzerland, is a case in point. I love Switzerland and am a fan of their wines. I will be writing more about Swiss wines later this month but today’s post is about a location I love, Chillon Castle.

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I have known about Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva all my life. My parents took me their when I was three years old and it has been a topic of family lore ever since. This past summer I took my own three year old to visit that beautiful country and to see the Castle.

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He’s not yet into knights and castles, we are still in the Thomas the tank engine phase, but he appreciated the whole experience. Although I have known about the castle, I was shocked and delighted to find out they produce wine. Swiss wines are hard to find in the United States or outside of Switzerland in general and this one I believe is mostly sold from in the gift shop at the Castle and online.

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We saw forty barrels that are now installed in the castle’s tunnels. Its is a somewhat strange concept as that is where  François Bonivard, the protagonist of Lord Byron’s famous poem “The Prisoner of Chillon“, was jailed but nonetheless that is the space they have and use for their wine barrels.

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The wine is made by  Daniel Dufaux, and oenologist and manager of Henri BADOUX SA – VINS, and President of the Union of Swiss Oenologists. It is part of the  “Grand cru (GC) – AOC Lavaux” appellation. Their vineyards lie along Lake Geneva which enjoys a great microclimate. Lavaux is in the canton of Vaud and is the area between Lausanne and Chillon, I spent a week in the area last summer and came to really appreciate the beauty of the Lake.

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The wine I tried was their Chillon Foundation Reserve made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. I thought it was a nice, easy drinking wine with black fruit, bramble and mushroom notes and plush juicy tannins.

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My little winemaker is contemplating the barrels. Wine came back to Chillon in 2011 according to their website but they now hold tastings and banquets in the Castle, quite the location.

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A wonderful place to visit with small children, Chillon castle also offers this nice respite for the travel weary. If you’ve got a transportation lover in your family, I highly recommend a trip to Switzerland where trains and boats abound.

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