The Weekly Twitter Quiz #9 – Satigny in Geneva

March 5, 2009
Vineyards near Geneva with the Jura mountains

Vineyards near Geneva on the foothills of the Jura mountains

If you’ve ever flown in or out of Geneva airport in Switzerland, you will have most likely flown over the gentle, rolling vineyards of the village Satigny, which has the largest vineyard area of any Swiss village, around 480 hectares or just over 1,000 acres. The French-speaking canton of Geneva is the third largest in Switzerland for vineyards after Valais and Vaud and there are some increasingly interesting wines to be found there from a vast range of grape varieties.

On my last visit there, we visited the wonderfully-named Domaine du Paradis, a producer growing over 20 different grape varieties in 40 hectares of vineyards in Satigny and the surrounding villages.

Roger Burgdorfer of Domaine du Paradis

Roger Burgdorfer of Domaine du Paradis

Owner of Domaine du Paradis Roger Burgdorfer and his partner-winemaker Didier Cornut share a wacky sense of humour which is reflected in their highly decorated tasting room and on their wine labels. The wines, though, show a serious level of quality and originality, with an eminently drinkable Pinot Blanc, an outstanding oak-aged Viognier named Le Pont de Soupirs Blanc; and in reds not only a good example from the local curiosities Garanoir and Gamaret blended with Merlot called Le Noir Divin, but also a surprising star from Zinfandel.

You can easily do a wine tour in Satigny and neighbouring villages directly from the city of Geneva as it’s only 20 minutes drive away. The village has good choices for eating with the large decent quality village restaurant named Auberge de Satigny and just down the road in the hamlet of Peney, the rather upmarket Auberge de Châteauvieux. On our visit, we met up with friends who were actually staying at Châteauvieux and they enjoyed an excellent evening meal in the restaurant.

Café de Peney

Café de Peney

For lunch on our visit we went to the Café de Peney under the same management. Being summer we could sit outside and enjoyed a relaxed meal with outstandingly presented food from good seasonal ingredients. The wine list too included a careful choice from the canton of Geneva and further afield in Switzerland and beyond.

Congratulations to Richard from Massachusetts who first guessed Sion in Valais, then Lavaux in Vaud (both major wine-growing areas, yes) and on the third attempt correctly guessed Satigny in Geneva, not an easy one.

Now, I can go and open a bottle of Le Noir Divin purchased on our visit. Follow me on Twitter for some more detailed impressions on the wine later this evening. And, if you are reading this on another day, you’ll find that my tweets include a wide range of comments on wine and travel related themes plus a few more snippets.

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The Black Forest for foodies and wine travellers

January 11, 2009

By Sue Style

restaurant-kaiserstuhl-for-wtg-blog-2Wink tells me that Wine Travel Guides is about to venture into the German vineyards with three guides to the Mosel which will go on-line later this month. Meanwhile, if you’re one of those rare people who understand about and love German wine, it’s worth considering a visit to the Black Forest. People have always beaten a path to this gorgeous bucolic holiday area for relaxing holidays with a big dose of wellness thrown in, but increasingly it’s the food and wines that are calling the shots. On the food front, Baden-Württemberg (the Land where the Black Forest lies) boasts the highest concentration of Michelin stars in Germany. As for Baden wines, better known in the past for quantity than quality, these are now winning international plaudits – and prizes – for their elegance and complexity.

A good place to start is the Kaiserstuhl, a small enclave of volcanic outcrops sandwiched between the Basel-Freiburg Autobahn and the Rhine. Here is where you’ll find some of Baden’s finest wines, grown in terraced vineyards. It’s worth setting up a few tastings here to get a feel for how far the wines have come.

Reinhold and Cornelia Schneider’s winery in Endingen, founded only in 1981, was flagged in Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report as the fastest-improving producer in Germany. Their reputation for whites (Weissburgunder/Pinot Blanc, Grauburgunder/Pinot Gris) is firmly established but the Schneiders are no slouches where red is concerned (principally Spätburgunder, a.k.a. Pinot Noir).

Karl-Heinz Johner, whose wine career started at Lamberhurst Vineyard in Kent (southeast England), works 17 hectares in Bischoffingen (and a further 12 in Wairarapa, New Zealand) with his son Patrick. Their benchmark is Burgundy, their aim to make the wines that best express the unique terroir of the Kaiserstuhl. Their range of racy Spätburgunders is a lesson in what Pinot Noir can do outside its homeland in skilled hands with the right clones and good terroirs; their mouthfilling Weissburgunder knocks spots off its Pinot Blanc cousins across the Rhine in Alsace.

Close by in Oberrotweil is Weingut Salwey, another family-owned and -run estate. Since 2002, son Konrad has shared wine-growing and winemaking responsibilities with his father and takes care of the whites (floral and fruity Weissburgunders and fine Grauburgunders), while Herr Salwey Senior is responsible for some finely aromatic Spätburgunders.

The Schwarzer Adler Hotel and Restaurant

The Schwarzer Adler Hotel and Restaurant

For eating out, the Kaiserstuhl has plenty of options from honest country inns to elegant, Michelin-starred tables. The appealing Gasthaus Kaiserstuhl in Niederrotweil with its flowery-curtains-and-formica decor is run by a two-man father-and-son team. The (aptly named) chef, Herr Koch Junior, cooks locally sourced ingredients (kid, rabbit, pike-perch) enlivened with armfuls of fresh herbs and edible flowers from the chef’s garden and the surrounding fields and vineyards (wild garlic, dandelions etc.), while Herr Koch Senior attends single-handed to the small dining room.

In nearby Vogtsburg-Oberbergen is the firmly established Schwarzer Adler, a cosy-elegant, wood-panelled Gasthof whose classic French cuisine with local accents served by fulsome, smiling women in Tracht (traditional Black Forest costume) has merited a Michelin star since 1969. Owner Franz Keller was a pioneering wine grower in his day, making distinctive and idiosyncratic wines which fell foul of the (arcane) rules of German wine labelling, a tradition proudly carried on by his son Fritz. The wine list is spectacular – 1800 references, including top Bordeaux and Burgundies, as well as the cream of Baden.

If roast chicken speaks to you more than poached poularde with truffles, a final option could be the Keller-owned Winzerhaus Rebstock just across the road. Here you can feast on classics like Mistkratzerle (a proper farmyard bird that’s been scratching around in the Mist or manure heap), Wienerschnitzel or calf’s kidneys, with voluptuous apple tarts and cream cakes to finish.

Weingut Schneider, Königschaffhauserstrasse 2, 74396 Endingen am Kaiserstuhl.
Tel: +49 7642 5278
Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner, Gartenstrasse 20, 79235 Vogstburg-Bischoffingen
Tel: +49 7662 6041
Weingut Salwey, Hauptstrasse 2, 79235 Oberrotweil am Kaiserstuhl
Tel: +49 7662 384
Gasthaus Zum Kaiserstuhl, 79325 Niederrotweil
Tel: +49 7662 237
Schwarzer Adler, Badbergstrasse 23, 79235 Vogtsburg-Oberbergen
Tel: +49 7662 93 30 10
Winzerhaus Rebstock, Badbergstrasse 22, 79235 Vogtsburg-Oberbergen
Tel: +49 7662 93 30 11

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