Wine from Switzerland? And White Merlot?

Egads, the world must be coming to an end! Now, as strange as a White Merlot, and one from Switzerland at that, sounds, the wine geek in me could not pass up this bottle of wine. I saw it on the menu and went, huh, White Merlot? Now that’s a new one. And to me it is, I had never heard of such a thing.

We ventured to Il Porto Ristorante with my inlaws last week in Old Town, Alexandria. We haven’t really had the time (or money) to check out many restaurants in our ‘hood yet, but we were in the mood for Italian and they had open tables when we wanted, so off we went. And not a bad choice at all! The food was very tasty and reasonably priced, I had the fettucini alfredo. I know, a heart attack on a plate, yada yada yada, but I really don’t care, I love the stuff and only get it perhaps twice a year.

The wine was a Ticino Chiar di Luna 2005 Bianco di Merlot. It is from V&D Angelo Delea SA, Losone-Swizzera. I gathered from the label that it is from the Italian Alps region of Switzerland. I had heard that wine was made in Switzerland, but that it was so little they didn’t really export. So color me surprised to find this on the wine list of a tiny Italian restaurant in Northern Virginia.

The wine was 12% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. The nose was reserved, showing a slight sweet floral aroma. In the mouth the wine was light and fruity with tropical fruits. It was pleasant and tasty and otherwise hard to describe. The wine was easy to drink and made me think of fruit drinks with ice on the porch. I’d say it’d be a decent valued at the $10-$15 price point and certainly worth trying as an oddity. White Merlot???


5 Responses

  1. I was at a dinner with friends last week and they were talking about a trip to Switzerland and all the Swiss wine they had–and loved. Like you, I’ve not ever seen Swiss wine in a store or restaurant. One to watch out for, though.

  2. Cannot say I have had a “White Merlot” either. But you have my interest sparked, I’ll be looking!

  3. Ticino is a region in the south of Switzerland, just across from Milan/Como in Italy. When you fly into Lugano your plane circles Lake Lugano and the vine covered hills. What a spectacular place. Never had the wine though – at dinner they served a Piemontese Chardonnay (Gaja Rossj Bass). Thanks for the memory – Cheers!

  4. Yes, watch out for it Dr.Deb and Winedeb. I thought it was interesting just because it was different!

    Joe, glad I could evoke a good memory. We are always meaning to get over to Switzerland as Matt went to high school there!

  5. … Swiss wines are quite numerous! This one has been produced in the Swiss region where people speak Italian. There are several good wines produced there – even red merlots! 😉 Great, that you find some Swiss wines even in the USA: it’s rarely exported – the products are quite rare, and, thus, rather expensive. By the way, the production may also be quite artisanal (grape-picking by hand, and so on).

    Besides this, to give you another surprise, there’s a village called Champagne in Switzerland, producing… a normal white wine that might be called champagne. But now there’s a problem with the “real” champagne (yeah, the sparkling one!), so the producers are not allowed to call their product after the name of their village.

    If you read some French, some time ago I told some words about it on my own blog, there:

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