For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 7 in Switzerland

September 30, 2010

Sometimes you have to let yourself wander. Especially when you’re halfway around the world, far from home, and the grapevines speak to you. Their plump, ripe, fascinating jewels grow silently and magnificently, their alluring beauty calls. When opportunity knocks, you must go to the vines.

During my visit to Rolle, Switzerland, the flourishing grapevines sprawling across the Jura mountain range beckoned. So, on a potentially rainy day, I made the conscious decision to don a backpack with a few simple effects: a notepad, camera, sandwich, bottle of water, and an umbrella. This basic paraphernalia (along with my comfortable walking shoes) provided just what I needed for my day’s destiny exploring the vines. 

Overlooking the lakeside city of Rolle, these rolling green hills, lush with thriving vines and charming cottage-style homes, span several miles of the La Côte wine region of Vaud. The Jura Mountains produce several splendid varietals, predominantly Chasselas, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Although I’d taken a spectacular car ride a few days previous along the Route duVignoble—a stunning 22-mile drive that stretches along this wine region from Nyon to Lausanne—I needed to experience these vines on foot. 

A workout of the body and visual senses is what I received. After traipsing past the flourishing stalks of corn in Rolle and crossing a busy road, I wandered up the steeping hills, leaving the northern shores and shimmering blue waters of Lac Léman behind me. I ambled up and over to the village of Tartegnin, snapping up pictures of fat, glorious Gamay grapes along the way. This quaint village, also a wine appellation, lies just a stone’s throw from the next charming village I visited—Mont-sur-Rolle.

This neighboring appellation and prestigious wine region also bestowed the opportunity to trek through its never-ending hillside vineyards, where I stumbled upon some of Mont-sur-Rolle's 39 wineries numbering its landscape. Beautiful rows of Chasselas adorned the mountainous terrain; signs pointed in every direction to the charming tasting rooms. Most caveaux are only by appointment, but quite a few open their doors Friday and Saturday evenings. Although I wasn’t able to taste any wine, my journey that day was about the vines. 

At the end of the day I walked back to Rolle feeling as if I’d discovered something rare in this French-speaking region of the world, not knowing if I’d ever have the chance to walk along these vines again. After all, life is short, we get busy, and some opportunities are fleeting.  But I will always remember this day of leisurely exploration and these little-known appellations which remain a mystery to most of the world.

The next time you take a spot of wine for a spin in your glass, as you breathe deep into the trace aromas and sip your way through the gradations of tastes, remember the grapes, remember the vines. Harvest time brings their fate soon enough. The occasion for exploration is brief.

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