The other night I had a wine made in the village of Bevaix, which is in the Neuchatel region of western, french-speaking Switzerland. The winery is Domaine de Chavigny, or is it Domaine E. de Montmollin? I think the wine must be made from the grapes of an estate called Domaine de Chavigny, and bottled by Domaine E. de Montmollin, an estate based in Auvernier, another Neuchatel wine village. At any rate, the wine is made from the Chasselas grape (called Fendant, Perlan, or Gutedel in other parts of Switzerland), which may be original to Switzerland, France, or possibly Egypt. There is no consensus. It is a neutral grape, and wines made from it vary greatly depending on where it was grown. In this case, it exhibited some floral notes, a hint of graham cracker and honey (perhaps due to its 6 years of age), and although it’s generally a low-acid grape, the cooler climate of Bevaix left it with enough acid to match the goat cheese, tomato, and onion tart I paired with it. The wine was lovely, and Bevaix was a new appellation for me (always exciting!), but I’m not sure the wine was intended for long-term aging. Although I enjoyed the secondary aromas it had developed, it was no longer vibrant in the way I think it might have been when bottled. I’ve enjoyed aged Chasselas from Neuchatel before, specifially, a Dézaley from Luc Massy which was built to age.  I found the 2002 Domaine de Chauvigny Bevaix at Corti Brothers in Sacramento for $15.99.


I recently had a Swiss dessert wine called Amigne de Vétroz, and paired with an apple tart. It was my first encounter with the grape Amigne. The Vétroz is an appellation within the Swiss wine reigon of the Valais. This is in the western, french-speaking part of Switzerland and they make a wide variety of wines, from Fendant to Dole. The Valais contains all the Amigne planted in the world, and most of that is in Vétroz. I had a half bottle of Jean-Réne Germanier’s 2001 “Mitis” bottling, and it had an apricot and rhubarb smell, was off-dry with lively acidity and a honeyed texture. It went very well with the apple tart, which was from a recipe in Richard Olney’s Simple French Food, a cookbook my husband loves, but occasionally intimidates me. I’d say only about half the recipes are actually simple — the apple tart was one of them. The crust was different from the paté brisée I usually make, it was more cookie-ish. After making the crust you spread the apples in the middle, fold the crust around up around the sides and bake for 40-50 minutes. Afterwards, spread a little bit of puréed fruit jam or butter on the top. I used Rigoni di Asiago’s Apricot fruit spread and it worked very well. Delish!