Buying Swiss Pinot Noir

Does anyone know of any places in the USA that have a broad selection of Swiss Pinot Noir? I recently had my first bottle in Europe and thought it was amazing.

Lyle Fass, at Fass Selections, is starting to focus on Switzerland and has done a few recent offers.

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“Do not share this email” [new-here.gif]


Honestly I can’t figure out which ones to share or not…it something I’ve meant to ask him one of these days. The title says one thing and then the text might say another….

Panzer just sent an offer this morning.

AP Wine Import in NY and Yountville in LA have Donatsch, one of the top 5 producers. Pinot Noir Passion (Premiere Cru style) and Unique (GC style) are both very good. Also check out the Chardonnay‘s and Completer if you can.

The thread is also a good reminder for people to steer clear from Valais Pinot Noir. :smiley:

Drink a 2020 Lux Vina Pachje from Chevaliers Salgesh and stand corrected. [cheers.gif] I held the same view until I drank said wine. Holy smokes!

Generally the problem with buying Swiss wines in the US is that they’re way too expensive for the quality. Hopefully the two guys mentioned here have been able to alleviate that (I suspect they have).

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The Chappaz wine from Panzer is excellent. I would avoid Fass unless you want to be yelled at, sent the wrong wine and subject to abuse.

Swiss wine is inherently expensive, so for me to buy it, it needs to be both unique and high quality. There is enough high quality Pinot Noir that costs far less than the likes of Gantenbein, including many profound 1er crus from that region named Burgundy, plus Oregon, California, Germany, etc etc.

If I’m going to pay the extra premium for a Swiss wine, it needs to be from a grape, terroir or style that is completely different than anything I can find elsewhere. There are several grapes unique to Switzerland that can do special things, and that I’d go out of my way to try them. The one Amigne I’ve ever had was quite impressive, and had me wondering why nobody is trying to grow Amigne anywhere else. I’d love to try top examples of Completer, Humagne Blanche, Diolinoir, and Gros Arvine; but Swiss Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are harder for me to justify from a quality/price persepective. Plus, Vin de Glaciers is on my bucket list.


The problem with Swiss wine are twofold. Costs of producing are high and national demand high. All the good producers are constantly sold out. So the incentive to export wine is small as mostly not worth the hustle when you just can sell them at the cellar door.

As for value, I don’t know what the mark up is when the wines get sold in the US but I would say that the mid to high end wines compare favorably to lets say Burgundy

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Your last paragraph, Andrew, outs you as a true geek [cheers.gif] . We’re inherently different because of the higher elevation and the diurnal temp variations etc. particularly in Valaisia as I call the Valais. There are some interesting Amigne (particularly from amphore and fashioned as orange wine). Generally speaking, Swiss wines are too cheap (in relation to quality) and sadly, the wines that make it in export (few aside as mentioned eg. Gantenbein, Donatsch, Chapaz etc.) are 2nd, 3rd tier or worse. There are some folks growing Swiss varietals on other continents. For example Arvine (which is grown in Australia for example and not really exclusive to Switzerland). There’s no distinction between petite and “gros” Arvine as you state it, it’s the same according to Dr. Vouillamoz. Generally speaking, Rhone varietals do exceptionally well in Switzerland as well as Amigne, Arvine etc. mentioned.

With regard to PN, I too, was and remain sceptical in terms of potential other than wines originating in Graubünden and to a lesser extent upstate Zurich but recent releases by Chevaliers* (mentioned earlier in the thread) and Germanier (high elevation parcel in Héremence) have changed/are changing my opinion.

The latest PN release by Chevaliers is CHF 70 per 75 or 70 bucks. A steal IMO. In any event, a wine worthy to have a twelve pack fedexed to the US fosho.

I have heard that the Swiss winegrowers have political influence. This may mean that there is a government-guaranteed floor for wine pricing. That would obviously affect pricing all the way up the line.
Please correct me if I am mistaken.

I have not had that many Swiss wines, but some years back I was hosted to a dinner near Bern by an American who presented some of the Good Stuff. And it was good! But the retail prices he quoted me made my head spin. These were simply not values, not even close, qpr in the basement.

As far as Arvine goes, you can find superb bottlings in Aosta, vineyards no more than few miles away from some of those in Switzerland. They are not inexpensive, but compared to Swiss pricing, they are pennies on the dollar.

Dan Kravitz

Dan I don’t think you have been through Aosta lately. On the Swiss side, Maurice Zufferey makes one of the best Petite Arvines every year and he is at 25CHF per bottle. Daniel Magglioco is at 21 CHF.

Go to Les Crêtes and look at their pricing (particularly their Chards). Grosjean makes a nice Petite Arvine, but they are at 18.50 euros. Given the cost of living differential between Valais and Aosta, I would argue the pricing is essentially on par.

They are that expensive now? I bought Grosjean’s Petite Arvine Vigne Rovettaz for less than 10€ some five years ago. It sounds like they’ve doubled their pricing in just a small span of time.

However, Les Crêtes has always been expensive, and their Chardonnays even more so. When normal Aosta white was 8-15€, their Cuvée Bois was 35€.

When you get first round pricing, the prices of Gantenbein (around 95 dollars), Donatsch (85 dollars), Studach (70 dollars) and many other good producers (usually between 55-65 dollars) are a bargain compared to 1er crus from Burgundy of equal quality (Gantenbein scores between 92 and 94 CT points, Donatsch 92.5-94 pts, Studach 92-93 pts).

Drank Ottin’s Arvine from Aosta two weeks ago. The “Nuances” bottling and it was top notch! Not aware of any government manipulation ie. flooring but that being said, I’m (still) not ITB as of yet, so I might be wrong. There’s a coop there, that nearly went bust a year ago which is certainly skewing the market perhaps (or at least was).

The most famed one (and I’m greateful she’s done it) is Caroline Frey of “La Chapelle” fame (southern Rhone, yes I know, northern ie. FRENCH norhtern Rhone but to me the south none-the-less) She’s producing an organic Arvine “jardin secret” that is remarkable to say the least. Others include Didier Joris and tons more… things are shaping up nicely for the TRUENORTHERNRHONE champagne.gif

expensive (with due respect) where have you been. That’s CHEAP