The best Swiss red wine blends mature in wooden barrels. Some are reminiscent of wines from Bordeaux.

The best Swiss red wine blends mature in wooden barrels. Some are reminiscent of wines from Bordeaux.
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Wines for explorers: The best Swiss red wine cuvées 2024

Swiss red wine cuvées are often atypical for our wine regions: Strong in aroma, full-bodied in taste and more or less characterized by barrel ageing, they are reminiscent of southern provenances. This makes them the perfect bridge wines for people who are just discovering Swiss wine for themselves.

At In international comparison, Swiss wine is little regulated. On the one hand, this is challenging for orientation, but on the other hand, it is a blessing for wine diversity. The category of blends or cuvées, i.e. wines made from several varieties, is more diverse in Switzerland than in almost any other wine nation. This was also demonstrated by the Falstaff Red Wine Blends Trophy 2024. Around 60 wines from all over the country were submitted - from quaffable, light berry wines to medium-weight cuvées with Piwi varieties and classic Bordeaux blends with barrel ageing, there was something for every taste. And it was precisely the latter category that impressed the tasters.

Unsurprisingly, it is red wine blends from Ticino in particular that know how to shine in the field of Swiss blends based on the Bordelais model. First place went to the Riva del Tasso 2021 from Cantina Pelossi, a wine made from 50 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Franc and 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine that is already inspiring, but will continue to grow with a few years of ageing.

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The second and third places were also taken by producers from Ticino, who should be well known: In second place this year was the Estro 2021 from the Gialdi winery consisting of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and some Petit Verdot and third place in the Vinattieri 811 2021 made from 80 percent Merlot and ten percent each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Both are wines that one would clearly locate blind in Bordeaux - or in regions that traditionally work with similar red wine blends. The biggest surprise among the winners of the Trophy was the Ottiger winery from Lucerne. With its Le Rouge 2022, it finished in second place together with Gialdi. The tasters attested to the wine's "Bordeauxesque" characteristics with present dark fruit as well as coffee and spicy notes from ageing in wooden barrels. Incidentally, the wine is based on the Gamaret, Merlot and Pinot Noir varieties - hard to guess, as is its origin from Lake Lucerne.


Best of red wine blends from Switzerland

Intense, precise nose. Dark berries, plum and cool vegetal notes, some grilled bell peppers. Powerful on the palate with beautiful breadth, ripe acidity and fine tannins. Again shows dark fruit notes and nuances of tobacco. Lingers for a long time.
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Perfectly ripe, dark-berry aromas: blackberry, black cherry, subtle roasted notes and savoury nuances. Medium-bodied on the palate with fine tannins and ripe acidity, again showing fruit and roasted nuances. Salty impression in the long finish.
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Harmonious, Bordeaux-esque nose with notes of dark berries and black cherry as well as roasted and savoury nuances such as coffee and cloves. Really comes together with the addition of air. Soft and round on the palate with great elegance. Fine tannins, ripe acidity and a long, juicy finish.
Canton Lucerne, Switzerland
Intense, harmonious aromas: coffee, cassis, ripe plum, smoky nuances, also blackberry and cool herbs. Round and polished on the palate with beautiful breadth, ripe acidity and fine, perfectly integrated tannins. Long finish, tannin remains on the palate.
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland

Wine profile

Traditional Swiss red wine cuvée
The most important Swiss red wine variety, Pinot Noir, is mostly vinified as a single varietal worldwide - as is the case in the Switzerland. With the specialty dôle, however, there are also a traditional red wine blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, Pinot is also often blended with the Swiss Gamay varieties Gamaret or Garanoir.

The Bordeaux blend
The grape composition of the French flagship region of Bordeaux conquered the wine world many years ago. The blend of varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is the basis for the legendary Supertuscans.

Intense, precise, dark fruity nose with notes of blackberry compote, plum and dark cherry, subtle savouriness, especially cloves. Beautiful fullness on the palate with ripe acidity and noticeable, fine tannins. Again shows dark berry and roasted nuances. Finishes long and juicy.
Lake Zurich, Switzerland
Intense, elegant nose with notes of plum, dark cherry and nuances of warm spices such as nutmeg. Pleasantly soft on the palate with a certain sweetness of extract, beautifully balanced acidity and ripe, fine tannins. Lingers for a long time.
Salquenen - Salgesch, Switzerland
On the nose, ripe fruits, dark berries, cassis, a touch of blackberry and notes of black cherry, beautifully complemented by toasted aromas with mocha and vegetal hints. Powerful and elegant on the palate with dark fruit notes and the toasted nuances again, noticeable but fine tannin, good length.
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Dark fruit meets barrel spice: Blackberry, blueberry, coffee, some liquorice and chilli bell peppers. Pleasantly full-bodied and dense on the palate with ripe acidity, fine, polished tannins and a long finish with dark berry and roasted nuances.
Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Intense, dark fruit, plum, blackberry, some cherry, nice savouriness. Elegant and rather light on the palate with intense cherry notes, some wild berries. Long finish with beautiful juiciness and savoury notes.
Intense, natural dark berry nose, especially elderberries and leaves, also blackberries and nuances of fresh pepper. Beautifully textured on the palate, again with intense berry aromas and peppery nuances. Has an open structure with noticeable, gripping tannins and ripe acidity. Long finish.
Three lakes region, Switzerland

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Benjamin Herzog
Benjamin Herzog
Chefredaktion Schweiz
Dominik Vombach
Dominik Vombach
Chefredaktion Schweiz
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