Hear from our Switzerland Regional Chair Paolo Basso on which wines to buy, which wines to leave on the shelf and what to keep an eye on from this year's Decanter World Wine Awards....

Swiss wines are only now appearing on the international market, but as some of the Europe’s most ancient vineyards they are full of history and tradition. Set in Central Europe, in the middle of the Alps, Swiss vineyards benefit from special climatic conditions produced by lakes, rivers, rocky mountains and valleys with favourable winds, that result in quality vines. Pinot Noir and Chasselas are the most cultivated varieties, but there are several native vines such as Petite Arvine and Cornalin that are just waiting to be discovered and more widely appreciated.

What should we buy from here?

Chasselas wines from the Lake Geneva area are not to be missed and are wonderful paired with sushi or cheese. Also to be discovered are the alpine reds of Valais in the upper Rhône valley such as Cornalin and Humagne – though this year it was a Cabernet Franc from this region that took our red Trophy. The indigenous whites of Païen and Amigne are also worth seeking out, and respectively responsible f or our still white and sweet white Trophies. Unique delights!

What should we leave on the shelf?

Too many uninteresting dry Sylvaners are still being produced when sweet ones could give far greater results. The production of sparkling wines is still in its early

What should we keep an eye on?

Definitely discover the reds from Ticino, Switzerland’s Italianspeaking southern region. Generally based on Merlot, the wines are international in style – with, consequently, a probable global interest – but the production is rather small (from 1,000ha of vines country wide) and the resulting wines, while good, have not yet been marketed well. Nevertheless, it is worth seeking these out, as well as tasting red blends containing a minority of Merlot where the latter fleshes out other grapes with greater complexity and backbone. These wines are rich and structured with a great elegance, and have the advantage that they can be enjoyed immediately and can age well over five to 10 years.

Written by Decanter