A lofty adventure into the Switzerland

Our journey from Sierre in the French speaking part of Switzerland to the charming Agriturismo Fattoria L’Amorosa for our lunch in the Italian speaking region of Ticino was quite adventurous. Travel involved a bus ride to Sierre’s quaint train station, followed by a short train ride, then a change to another train. Happily, Andrea Conconi, director of Ticinowine, the region’s promotional board, had very kindly arranged for a private compartment for our comfort. When we left the train, we were in for a big surprise – a vintage 1958 yellow Post Bus, looking something between an old-fashioned school bus and a yellow submarine. After taking photographs, we boarded eagerly and prepared to settle in for a nap and the long journey to Ticino through the Swiss Alps. Ha! Little did we know what the combination of Mother Nature – and the clever Andrea – had in mind. Words can’t describe the incredible pristine beauty of the Swiss Alps. As we chugged higher and higher into the mountains in our little yellow bus, every moment presented the type of unique view that had our little group falling all over each other to take photos. We saw snow-capped mountains (in early September) as the snow never melts completely here and

Ha! Little did we know what the combination of Mother Nature – and the clever Andrea – had in mind. Words can’t describe the incredible pristine beauty of the Swiss Alps. As we chugged higher and higher into the mountains in our little yellow bus, every moment presented the type of unique view that had our little group falling all over each other to take photos. We saw snow-capped mountains (in early September) as the snow never melts completely here and our ears began to pop from the altitude. Remarkably, along the upward climb were joggers and power walkers. Then, just as we reached the summit of the pass we saw a roadside stand. As we approached this lookout area overlooking a dramatic landscape, our eyes widened to see a formally dressed sommelier behind a table containing bottles of white Merlot and trays of cheese. As we descended from the bus, four musicians playing enormous alphorns began to serenade us (see cover shot). It was all such a wonderful surprise and a nice introduction

Then, just as we reached the summit of the pass we saw a roadside stand. As we approached this lookout area overlooking a dramatic landscape, our eyes widened to see a formally dressed sommelier behind a table containing bottles of white Merlot and trays of cheese. As we descended from the bus, four musicians playing enormous alphorns began to serenade us (see cover shot). It was all such a wonderful surprise and a nice introduction to the Swiss Italian Alps! So, we stood at the mountain top for nearly 20 minutes, snapping pictures, eating cheese and sipping wine. “I don’t know if it is the view, or the wine, but this is the best white Merlot I’ve ever had,” said a CWW member of the wine, alphorn and cheese experience. Reaching Ticino, we were quickly escorted to the restaurant Fattoria

So, we stood at the mountain top for nearly 20 minutes, snapping pictures, eating cheese and sipping wine. “I don’t know if it is the view, or the wine, but this is the best white Merlot I’ve ever had,” said a CWW member of the wine, alphorn and cheese experience. Reaching Ticino, we were quickly escorted to the restaurant Fattoria l’Amorosa where the handsome and English speaking Urs Mader gave us a brief history of the region and why Merlot is so important.

Though the region has produced wine since the Roman era, the quality movement began in 1956, when oenologists and researchers had recently discovered that Merlot is well suited to the terroir of the region and encouraged new plantings. The government gave stipends to farmers to grow Merlot, which helped get the industry off to a good start. Merlot here is THE GRAPE – it is used to produce both white and red wine, as well as some sparkling wines. Urs was careful to mention that there is a difference between the Merlot grown in the south with its calcareous soil that gives more feminine and generous wines and Merlot from the north, which lends itself to a more structured wine.

At lunch, during the main course, we enjoyed Caruto Merlot 2013, an oaked wine with 13.5% alcohol and a good introduction to what we would experience of the oaked and unoaked wines during our visits.

By Marisa D’Vari

This is an extract from the full report of the CWW Switzerland trip in 2016. Members can read the full report here.