Trying to explain Chasselas to people who dismiss it as uninteresting because it is low in acidity is a nearly hopeless exercise, although wine writers in Switzerland who love this wine – and there are many of us! – keep trying.
How many average drinkers consider the acidity in their wine?
The other day I had a Chasselas moment, and I’ll share it with you.
I went for a walk along Lake Geneva, early in the morning, in my village of St Prex. Here’s what I saw: gulls at peace with the world and each other on our dock; a lake that was breathing quietly, barely moving; a sun that couldn’t be bothered to shine very warmly at that hour; a lone fisherman from my village pulling in his final net of perch.
The fish are in season until April or May, so this is the time to eat them.
He headed for port, trailed by a spreading ribbon of a wave.
A little later in the day I took a walk in the vines at the top of the village, and stopped by David Kind’s winery, Terre Neuve. It’s just above the lake road and if you climb up behind the park of this lovely old estate you reach the Chasselas vines. The Jura is behind you, its peaks just visible as you face the lake, and the snow-capped chain of the Alps reigns across the water.
David is setting out tables for an evening event, a meeting that will end with a sociable glass of Chasselas, as does every meeting in canton Vaud. The wine is a firm but not aggressive handshake.
Chasselas remains his favourite wine, and this despite the fact that he makes some excellent reds. His 2013 “Blanc de Lys” La Côte AOC Chasselas won a silver medal last summer at the Mondial des Chasselas wine competition.
The fleur de lys is our village coat of arms.
I pocket a bottle for dinner and add a red for another day.
I head home and notice that the Croix Fédérale restaurant, known throughout the regions for its fried perch, french fries and decent local wine list, is getting busy. I remind myself to bring my husband here soon.
A lot of Chasselas will be moved here in the next few weeks for the simple reason that good company, good Chasselas, fresh lake fish and perfectly done fries, all in a beautiful lakeside village where nature is even more impressive than the notable history, equal pure pleasure.
And that’s why we love Chasselas: it’s a key ingredient in a wonderful recipe.