Switzerland uncorked: Fine wines and thrilling lakeside views are a heady mix in Lausanne
- Lausanne is an hour’s drive from Geneva and home to some excellent wines
- The town itself is lovely and the spectacular surrounding area is full of vineyards
- With a wine festival until August 11, now is an unmissable time to visit
Well, he certainly had a nerve. I was in the tasting room of Domaine Henri Cruchon, a celebrated winery in the village of Echichens, on the banks of Lake Geneva, west of Lausanne.
The man before me — a Swiss German travelling with his wife — had fallen so deeply under the spell of DHC’s wines that every available space in his car was packed with bottles.
Well, not quite every space. On the brink of paying, he glanced at the empty front passenger seat and moments later there were three wine boxes where his wife was due to sit.
The source: The vineyards of Lavaux near Lausanne overlooking Lake Geneva
Chasselas is the main grape hereabouts and winemaker Catherine Cruchon produces a dozen or so elegant white wines from it.
Her Pinot Noirs are pretty decent, too, as I discovered that night in Lausanne’s Brasserie de Montbenon.
I love Swiss wine and have long rued that almost all of it is drunk by thirsty locals. So the best way to get to know these delectable bottles is to head to the source and base oneself in Lausanne.
Now is the time to go, with the once-in-a-generation celebration of grape growers, the Fête des Vignerons (fetedesvignerons.ch), running in Vevey until August 11.
Delightful: Jonathan recommends The Royal Savoy hotel as the ideal base for a visit
Lausanne sits on Lake Geneva. It has a delightful old town, a fine cathedral and plenty of museums.
Stay at the Royal Savoy if you can, with its Japanese garden, Michelin-starred restaurant and Sky Lounge.
These ancient vineyards are a UNESCO Heritage site and the 160 or so winemakers are all very welcoming. Thank heavens I had neither car nor wife with me, or a tricky decision might have had to be made.