People often ask what is the best time to drink certain wine. Here, the clue is in the name of the grape. Named from the Valasian German dialect it translates more or less to “Do not drink too early”. This refers to the high natural acidity and the need to age the wine for better results. This is a very rare grape indeed and is only found in Haut-Valais in Switzerland. As you might expect from rare Swiss varieties, the best examples are produced by Kellerei Chanton in the Visp valley where so many rare varieties are lovingly kept from extinction.
Chanton's Lafnetscha has a light but complex nose of pine forest, linden blossom, bergamot and ripe bananas. On the palate, it is quite full-bodied, dry with good concentration of fruit and a fresh lively acidity. It is a very refreshing wine which would go well with sauerkraut, pot-au-feu, hors d'oeuvres, shrimp, shellfish, cheese and onion cakes, Raclette, and Fondue.
Lafnetscha is the child of another indigenous Swiss white grape the Completer, or Blanchier, grown in the Bündner Herrschaft village of Malans in eastern Switzerland. In Valais only about 1.29 hectares of Lafnetscha is cultivated and Kuonen have 1 hectare of this (80% of world production) in a small vineyard near the town of Brig.
The name Lafnetscha, "Laff-nit-scha", comes from a local dialect phrase suggesting that this wine should not be drunk too young. Lafnetscha wines do indeed have some aging potential if they are correctly made.
These ancient variety white wines improve with age so we recommend buying the oldest vintage available, especially if the wine is for a tasting.
The other parent of Lafnetscha is Humagne from the south of Switzerland.