Write to wallace at ellenworld.com with the name of my Swiss wine book and your Swiss address and – as long as my supply of tickets lasts – I will mail you 2 tickets to the Arvinis wine fair in Montreux, well under way today. Write by Friday 17:00 to get tickets by Saturday morning. Arvinis runs until Monday evening.
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This is the first year that Arvinis will be held in Montreux, the wine fair that traditionally heralds in the spring tastings season. At the most basic level it’s a showcase for some 5,000 wines from 4 continents and features a large number of Swiss wineries. Several workshops, from sushi and wine pairings as well as Swiss truffles and wine pairings to, of course, tastings of wines from Piedmont, the guest of honour this year – think beautiful Barberas and Barolos.
Several new features, including an interesting option to stay overnight in local hotels for a special hotel + wine fair rate. Details on public transport options and more – check out the new web site (English version will soon be available).
MORGES, SWITZERLAND – Arvinis, a major wine fair held in Morges every April since 1996, is moving to Montreux as of spring 2017. The event, scheduled for 26 April to 1 May, will be held at the 2m2c centre, a five-minute walk from the Montreux train station.
The fair pulls in more than 20,000 people each year and attracts more than 150 wineries. It serves as the opener for the French-language regions’ wine-tasting season, with many producers showing their latest vintage wines for the first time.
Arvinis has been held next to the train station in Morges since the fair began, but the Halles CFF, its home, is part of the rail company’s major renovation and rebuilding scheme in the area, and Arvinis was told it would have to move.
The new location was announced 31 May after months of searching and competition among the five towns named as finalists. The event is privately owned, but given its significance to the wine industry in Vaud, the canton participated in the selection process.
Morges, Bulle, Geneva (Palexpo), Lausanne (Beaulieu) and Montreux were still under consideration in January, but the first three were excluded for lack of a long-term option (Morges), already hosting an event where wine features (Bulles, the salon de Goût et Terroir) or general location (Geneva).
Montreux as the final choice was due in part to the 2m2c’s closeness to a train station, with 70% of visitors using the train, and because it is a relatively new building that will make it easier to adapt Arvinis to visitors’ and producers’ needs, as well as enlarge slightly the number of wineries taking part.
Last year’s event offered visitors the option to taste 2,500 wines.
The display of Morges wines at the Arvinis wine fair, which opened Wednesday evening, does a good job of showing off the guest of honour wines. It made me decide to taste mainly red wines, a departure from what I usually do at Arvinis.
The basics for an Arvinis visit
My suggestions, based on last night’s tastings, follow. First a couple of tips: do take public transport, to avoid parking hassles and the temptation to drive after drinking more than you planned. With 2,500 wines waiting to be sampled, you need a plan. I usually decide to taste just whites, or maybe 2 white grape varieties, followed by 2 red.
The entry fee is CHF30. You’re given a glass and be sure to hold onto it because that’s your passport for the wine. And do take the glass home as a souvenir. If you take the train and it’s after 21:00 you won’t be the only one carrying a dirty wine glass.
Here’s to Swiss reds!
I began by tasting the Servagnin 2013 lineup, Pinot Noir wines from the Morges region. They have a wonderful story and these are lovely Pinot Noirs, wines that reflect their terroirs well, with a strict quality charter for 19 wineries. Here’s a bit of background, from my book Vineglorious! Switzerland’s Wondrous World of Wines:
Marie of Burgundy, daughter of the powerful Duke of Burgundy, Phillip the Bold, was the pregnant wife of the overseer of the Morges castle in Vaud when, in 1420, she fled to Saint-Prex 6 km away to escape the plague. She thanked villagers with several plants of the grape much loved by her father, thus introducing Pinot Noir (also called Servagnin at the time) to Switzerland. In the 1960s Marie’s vines nearly disappeared but were saved in extremis, just as local producers were adopting the name Salvagnin for all their red wines from all grape varieties. Two last Pinot Noir Salvagnin clones were saved and today a small number of producers in the Morges region have brought it back with a strict quality charter, making elegant fruity wines called Servagnin de Morges.
I had four favourites Wednesday:
“Phenaillette”, winery Romon in Villars-Ste-Croix – elegant, drier and less markedly fruity than some, with a hint of licorice on the nose.
Les 3 Terres, winery Valmont in Morges – raspberries and strawberries on the nose, well-balanced structure, elegant, rich for a Pinot Noir, round.
Marcelin, Morges – a classic with clean lines, and possibly my favourite, with a subtle nose. Smooth, balanced.
Ville de Morges – the city’s own wine is one of the best, slightly fruitier than the Marcelin, longer in mouth than most of these.
Another I liked: Bolle, with good balance and a drier finish than most.
I didn’t have enough time to make the rounds, but some I enjoyed, and they speak English at these stands:
Cave de Genève, “Philippe Chevrier”, a more sophisticated version than Clémence, the other Gamaret the cellar offers.
Les Frères Dutruy, Founex, their 2012 “Les Romaines” Gamaret is inky purple, very smooth in mouth, and they have limited quantities, so ask (say I sent you) to try it.
Try these first, then ask to try blends with Gamaret. Suggested stands for this: Domaine du Paradis, Geneva; Clos, Domaines et Châteaux group from Vaud; Les Artisanes, a group of women wine producers whose wines often show you another face of Swiss grape varieties, particularly in blends.
I’m heading off in a little bit for the opening of Arvinis, where I’ll be tasting as many wines as I can this evening. You can find my notes on them here tomorrow – just in time for your own visit to the wine fair in Morges.
Coupons give you CHF15 off the entry fee
Good news: I have 10 coupons for CHF15 off, ready to post to the first people who respond to this post on Facebook by “liking” Ellen’s Wine World, www.facebook.com/EllensWineWorld and who answer the following questions correctly on that page (use comments):
1. What is the name of my book on Swiss wines, published in September 2014?
2. Does the well-illustrated book cost CHF10? or CHF24? or CHF50
Arvinis runs from this evening, 15 April t0 Monday 21 April – 2,500 wines, 150 stands. Entry CHF30 / CHF25 for AI/AVS. A great combination is to visit the tulip festival at the waterfront park in Morges before visiting Arvinis. The weather is perfect for it.
Details from their press release
The 20th annual Arvinis wine fair takes place 15-20 April at the Halles CFF in Morges.
The guest of honour for this jubilee year is Vins de Morges. The group of local wineries has supported the fair since it was created in 1996. The 22,000 visitors who are expected to visit the fair will be offered a chance to subscribe to the Vins de Morges specially created “Cuvée du 20ème” wine.
A highlight of the tasting workshops this year will be a wonderful food and wine pairing with wines from La Côte and some 15 sushi dishes prepared by sushi master Alain Delley, who will prepare them in front of the participants.
Other highlights of the workshops will be “Vins de Morges and Gastronomy 100% local 100% pleasure” and the drone over the vineyards of Chatagnéréaz. Note that the workshops are in French. Details: www.arvinis.ch
Wednesday 15, Thursday 16, Friday 17 April 16:00-22:00
Saturday 18 April 11:00-22:00
Sunday 19 April 11:00-20:00
Monday 20 April 16:00-22:00
Restaurant service provided
Easy access by train (the Halles CFF is directly across from the Morges main station)