Eyholzer Roter (Hibou)
The Eyholzer Roter grape, also known as Hibou, is grown around Visp and in the village of Eyholz just to the west of Visp. It is extraordinarily rare with only 0.25 hectares left worldwide of which the only commercially available wine comes from the vineyards of Josef-Marie Chanton. This ancient variety has in the past, also been grown in Savoie in France and in northern Italy. The traditional method of growing the grape in Valais is to train it on pergolas. This wine is a medium red with a nose of mountain violets and raspberries. Soft and fruity on the palate, it is best served slightly chilled, as one would a young Beaujolais.
You might think that Switzerland would produce quite a lot of Eiswein given the climate and geography, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Swiss Eiswein is very rare - it may only be produced in certain special locations and the climate allows it to be made on average about every 5 years. It is made in only tiny quantities, and these rare specialities often go direct to the best regular customers such as top restaurants. It is very difficult to find it on sale in a retail outlet, even in Switzerland. We have an example from the Chanton stable made from Eyholzer Roter grapes grown in Vispertal, amongst Europe's highest altitude vineyards.
DNA testing has been unable to identify the parents of Eyholzer Roter.