A place of larch barrels, glacier wine and verdant slopes, Switzerland punches above its weight in the wine world. And most of its greatest varieties are found on the stretch of land known as ‘La Côte’, which spans from Geneva to Lausanne (roughly 28 miles) and dates, in several parts, back to the Romans. Located above dozens of little villages that daintily string along Lake Geneva, these vineyards furnish the centre of world diplomacy with some of its top wines. Here, we ensure wine lovers staying at the legendary Hotel d’Angleterre, know the best places to visit in Geneva.
Take a taxi into La Côte and the skies quickly turn a cobalt blue. The land, too, is organised according to the streams that cut their way down the mountain, and glows a hundred shades of green. Almost immediately, visitors will find themselves surrounded by enough grapes to fuel the presses of the 125 wineries located in the region – 30 of which are big enough to classify as ‘chateaux’.
White wine is king here, especially those whites that are made from the popular chasselas grape, which makes a full, dry and fruity wine. Chasselas wines are fabulous with a clingy raclette or gooey fondue, some of the finest of which can be found in downtown Geneva.
If visitors feel a thirst coming on, they should make their way over to Geneva’s bistro Les Papilles de Lavinia, which forms the dining part of the Lavinia offering, and is famous for its 40,000-bottle display. Across the Pont du Mont-Blanc, Soleil Rouge’s cellar on the Boulevard Helvetique has a Spanish vibe, and Boulevard du Vin by the Rue du Stand, might take its wines very seriously but has a more casual atmosphere than its competition.
Another heavyweight to keep a lookout for is Le Rouge et Le Blanc, by the river. Every year it wins the Michelin recommendation, yet each year it raises its own bar higher, balancing experimental flavours with solid traditions.
Wines often taste even better with a view, and La Tour du Molard is the sort of landmark to turns heads. Located in the tower that overlooks Molard Square, the wine bar’s several levels are small, intimate and allow for tables to share one another’s conversation – ensuring new friends are made on every visit. Or perhaps a bottle goes down better with some live jazz? Take a stroll to the south of the city, where soulful scores are often conjured at the upmarket Bar à vin Qu’Importe.
However, few bars measure up to the cellar at Hotel d’Angleterre. With over 225 bins, Thomas Soriano, the professional sommelier, has created a stylish wine list that’s noted for its extraordinary breadth and its use of the hotel’s sister property, the Bouchard Finlayson winery in South Africa. This makes it a great place to try old favourites, or make exquisite new discoveries, while you while away the small hours.
Image Credits: Lavinia © Lavinia. Terrace Geneva © iStock/Serbek. Bouchard Finlay © Bouchard Finlay.