Switzerland is predominantly a red wine-producing country.
While the words Alps and wine don’t often appear in the same sentence, tiny, cold-climate Switzerland is very much a wine producer—and most of that wine, counterintuitively, is red. The leading variety is Pinot Noir, usually made into light, delicate red wines. Light, tasty, and more fruity reds are also made from Pinot Noir-Gamay blends, which are called Dôle and are one of the specialties of Valais. In the warmer, sunny southern canton of Ticino, Merlot has been growing since the early part of the twentieth century, and again, the wines are light, sleek, and sometimes spicy. But perhaps the most intriguing red variety of all in Switzerland is Cornalin (also known as Rouge de Pays), a natural cross of two northern Italian varieties that was on the verge of extinction in Switzerland before it was saved in the 1970s. It’s the source of super-juicy, spicy, nicely bitter wines redolent of sour cherries and pomegranates.