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Switzerland - Cornalin

Switzerland - Cornalin

Switzerland You are exploring our Swiss wines.
Cornalin is a traditional Swiss red grape variety grown in Valais. It is one of the rare varieties shared between Aosta and Valais. It gives fruity red wine with an elegant nose but a more robust, even rustic body, and often surprising (for those not used to Alpine reds) herbal notes.

Swiss Wine - Small and Perfectly Formed

Wine has been grown in Switzerland for 2,000 years. Yet very little is known about these wines outside of Switzerland. That is because the Swiss drink most of it, so Swiss wine is hard to find. 

Switzerland is a fabulous winemaking country and one of the most wine crazy countries. In Switzerland wine is so embedded in life and land that almost everyone either is a winemaker or knows one (usually many). The Swiss also have very high expectations of quality, sustainability and ecology, which means the wines are not just excellent, they are also clean and green. The vineyard landscapes are stunning, with unique terroirs and an exhuberance of native and internation varieties. This is a wine lover's dreamland.

Being Swiss, I am able to source wines that are very hard to get - sometimes only because my parents already bought them! I have chosen some of the best representatives of Switzerland's wine scene - classic family wineries, top cooperatives and cult winemakers.

Find your wine in the list below, or jump to the regions and keep reading.

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  • Clos Combe d'Uvrier Varone

    Serious Swiss Red.
  • Cornalin "Champmarais" Cave Jean Rene Germanier

    Altitude Cornalin barrel fermented - wildness in a Tux
  • Terpsichore Séduction Rouge Domaine des Muses

    A stunning blend of the two main Valais native reds. Worth every penny!
  • Cornalin Grand Métral Provins

    Fantastic example to discover Cornalin
  • Constellation Giroud Vins

    The first attempt ambitious international blend of Valais Native grapes.
  • Terre Vivante - Assemblage Rouge Gregor Kuonen et Fils

    BIG, big red from Gregor Kuonen.
  • Cornalin Tradition Domaine des Muses

    A demonstration in Cornalin mastery.
  • Electus Valais Mundi

    A wine created to raise expectations about Swiss wine to a whole new level.
  • Ruistal Varone

    Bold blend from Valais.
  • Cornalin, Maître de Chais, Réserve Spéciale Provins

    A smooth and concentrated Cornalin

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Swiss Wine Regions

Nearly every canton (county) produces wine but the main areas are along the lakes and major rivers. In Western Switzerland along Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtell and the Rhône. In Eastern Switzerland along the Rhine and Lake Zürich. In Southern Switzerland in the lake valleys of Italian speaking Ticino. Start your journey below:

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Vaud

Vaud is a wine tourists paradise in Western Switzerland.

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Valais

Valais is the uncontestable champion of Swiss wines.

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Neuchâtel & Trois Lacs

Pinot Noir, Oeil de Pedrix and lively whites

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Ticino (Tessin)

A land where Merlot thrives.

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Eastern Switzerland

Zürich, Schaffhausen, Aargau, Thurgau, St. Gallen.

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Geneva

Huge diversity and a perfect short food and wine break.

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Graubünden

Pinot Noir land extraordinaire.

The grape formerly known as Rouge du Pays.

Rouge du Pays is almost certainly from the Val d'Aosta in Italy as its parents are Petite Rouge and Mayolet. However, Rouge du Pays has only ever been found in Valais in Switzerland, where it has been grown for centuries.

It is a rather capricious grape and alternates between heavy and light yields, so it requires a lot of work in the vineyard. Starting in the late nineteenth century it was slowly replaced by Pinot Noir and Gamay and was almost extinct by the early 1970's. This is when the variety was revived and renamed Cornalin, taking the name of a variety thought to be extinct. Ironically the original Cornalin was alive and well in Valais under the name Humagne Rouge but that wasn't known until decades later from DNA testing.

With DNA testing, we now know that Rouge du Pays is one of the parents of Humagne Rouge. We also found out that Humagne Rouge is, actually, the lost variety which was called Cornalin. So yes, Cornalin is the father of Cornalin.

You may see people using "Cornalin d'Aoste" and "Cornalin du Valais" to make the distinction between the two uses of Cornalin, but if you know which country the wine is from there really isn't any confusion. Cornalin from Switzerland is this variety here, the grape formerly known as Rouge du Pays. Cornalin from Italy will be its child, the grape known in Switzerland as Humagne Rouge.

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