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Chablais

Chablais: between lake and valley

The easternmost wine region of Vaud comprises approximately 590 of the canton’s 3,800 hectares. Although relatively small, the diversity of varieties and wine styles is exceedingly large. Besides the main variety of Chasselas, which presents its full charm here, the mostly red wines are also splendid. Pinot Noir selections present a thoroughly Burgundian dimension. But for several years, exquisite specialties have also been pressed from varieties like Merlot and Syrah.

White wines from Chablais

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Even Swiss wine lovers sometimes confuse Chablais with the Chablis in Burgundy. But the two have nothing in common. Although some superb Chardonnays (the main variety in Chablis) are also pressed in Chablais, the major varieties are Chasselas and Pinot Noir. The Chasselas wines from Villeneuve and especially from Yvorne see high demand with both consumers and experts. Their many awards at prestigious tastings and competitions offer impressive proof of this. The Chablais comprises the five subregions of Aigle, Yvorne, Villeneuve, Ollon and Bex, with its own AOC status.

Foehn winds from Valais

The vineyards of Chablais start in Villeneuve, at the eastern end of Lake Geneva, stretching to the wine-growing village of Bex, some 20 kilometers deep inside the Rhone valley, on the border of Valais. The location alone makes it clear that this wine region is climatically closer to Valais than the growing areas influenced by the lake. The active foehn winds are another important impact towards the end of the ripening cycle. This makes it possible for varieties like Syrah and Merlot to fully ripen in Bex and Ollon.

Lime, gravel, magnesium, gypsum...

Chablais crus get their special character from the different soils. In Yvorne, limestone gravel shapes the terroir, the result of a massive landslide in 1584. In Villeneuve, magnesium-rich soils predominate, to which the diuretic effects of local Chasselas are attributed. In Aigle, the vines take root in calcareous alluvial deposits, and in Ollon and Bex gypsum soils dominate. Chasselas expresses these different terroirs with more subtlety than any other variety. Thus, the crus from Vellenueve are known for being delicate, those from Yvorne for breed, while the Chasselas from Aigle are known for their elegance. And the growths from Ollon and Bex are characterized by a mineral, flint note. Its high class and storable Pinot Noir selections, fresh fruity Gamay and numerous specialties make the Chablais region extremely interesting as a highly-varied wine region.

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