Last summer we decided to visit Chablais, which is a wine sub-region of Vaud, situated on the northern shores of Lac Leman. The area is known for producing fresh, minerally white wines, mainly from Chasselas, the finest and best known wines in Switzerland. In the terroir of Ollon there is the winery of Badoux Vins. The sales manager Mr. Patrick Zurkirchen, welcomed us and showed us the legendary winery of the region.
Mr Patrick Zurkirchen sales manager
Our winery with an estate of more than 50 hectares is based in Aigle and was founded in 1908. It has been developing over the years what is nowadays the most famous Swiss wine is, “Aigle les Murailles”!
The whole region called Chablais, is in the South of the Canton of Vaud situated on the South shores of Lake Geneva. On one side we have the lake of Geneva and on the other side we have the high peaks of the Alps. This crates regular drafts, almost never fog and therefore some extra sunshine. There are 5 winemaking villages in the Chablais: Aigle, Yvorne, Ollon, Villeneuve and Bex. All vineyards are South slopes.
In this terroir we grow many varieties, but the most popular is the Chasselas and Pinot Noir planted in the fifties. Since about 30 years we have planted many other grape varieties such as Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Gamay.
What is Badoux winemaking style?
Our white wines are very fruity and dry and slightly sparkling and in Swiss culture we drink them mainly as aperitif, before the meal.
Chasselas is an aperitif wine and it’s ideal pairing with Gruyere cheese and lake fish.
What things have you developed to make different from the others in the area?
Badoux Family had always the priority to aim the quality, they have never been winegrowers themselves but wine sellers. They always surrounded themselves with the most skillful people in the cellar, in the vineyards and specialized people in every position of the business. So we grew higher and better from the others who have the same grapes and the same varieties.
What distinguishes have the Swiss wines against the other wines of the world?
I think the different way of growing the grapes and the differences between the wine regions. Valais produces the white: Petite Arvine, Amigne, in Ticino: Merlot, in Vaud and in the Three Lakes region: Chasselas and Pinot Noir and in East Switzerland Muller Thurgau. All the regions produce unique wines in high standard quality.
Tell us a story behind a label.
The label of our white Chasselas Aigle Les Murailles, is a painting of Frederic Rouge from 1890. “Murailles” meaning “fortified walls”, refers to the steep vineyards supported by kilometres of stone walls, some of them 8 meters high. At harvest times an army of pickers is necessary, as well as a helicopter to bring the grapes down to the winery. The lizard displayed on the label is a typical natural local resident! The wine is a silky texture richness of fruit, and a dense and fine palate. This remarkable wine combines grace, elegance and softness.
We produce a bit more than1 million bottles per year for the Swiss market and 75% are white wine, Chasselas and 25% is Pinot Noir.
Switzerland is not known for the wine tourism, but we believe it will become an interesting business in the close future. The tourist office joins us, and via internet wine lovers can find interesting places, tasting rooms like ours.
Fête des Vignerons and Badoux vins
The Fête des Vignerons pays tribute to the centuries-old wine-making traditions of an entire region through a show and the coronation of winemakers. Organized by the Brotherhood of Winegrowers, this unique celebration in the world takes place once a generation in Vevey. It is the first living tradition in Switzerland to have received UNESCO recognition.
On the occasion of the Winegrowers’ Festival 2019, Maison Badoux and Obrist have produced the official wines of the Fête des Vignerons.
Four wines have been specially produced to promote the region’s wines and to pay tribute to the work of the winemakers: a white & a Lavaux red as well as a white & a Chablais red, all from parcels carefully selected by the Brotherhood of Winegrowers of Vevey.
The wines can be enjoyed facing Lake Geneva, on the terraces of the Brotherhood.