Saturday, March 15, 2008
Lausanne Switzerland Wine Tour: Epesses
While visiting Lausanne last week I made a short trip to the vinyards on the shores of Lake Geneva. I took the regional train to Cully, cost about 3 Swiss Francs, about 10-minutes ride from the main train station.
In Cully you can follow a wine path up to the village of Epesses. You walk through the vinyards and there are signs describing the type of grapes grown and the reasons the wine is good (e.g. gravelly soil etc.). The walk is uphill and the path can be narrow, so it's not for everyone. It probably takes 45 minutes uphill and 30 downhill.
Epesses is a neat town. There are probably 20+ winemakers located in a town with about 100 buildings. Most of them are small, so they are only open when they are not otherwise working (several opened at 4 pm), but there is a common sales/tasting point in the center of the town (they feature one winemaker each week).
I had a very nice lunch at the Aubrege des Vin (I need to find the exact name), lamb steak prepared in the Provencial style with two local wines. The red was very good - this is maybe a surprise for people who think that the only good Swiss wine is white, but that's probably due to the fact that the Swiss only make a very small amount of red wine.
A really great event in Epesses is the annual wine tasting (in French or German) called Epesses nouveau en fête. This takes place on a Saturday (this year April 26, 2008) - and all the winemakers are open. You pay to enter the town (60 Swiss Francs), receive a glass and bag, then go from winemaker to winemaker tasting. You also get tickets for a winemakers lunch (picnic style hot food), a loaf of bread, a local cheese (great!), a bottle of water, a local sausage (also great!) and a 1.5 liter bottle of local white wine which you bottle yourself.
The Swiss National Railways (RailAway) offers reduced rate trips (here is the RailAway page describing the wine event in German) from throughout Switzerland including a ticket to the event (it's best not to drive!), I paid about 100 Swiss Francs from Zurich (about 2.5 hour trip) in 2005. If you can go, I highly recommend it.