‘Small is beautiful’ so said the poet, and this is certainly true of the tiny area of controlled origin that lies between the lakes of Neuchâtel and Morat (Murtersee) in Switzerland’s Western provinces. With just fifty hectares under vine on the French speaking side of the border (Vaud), and twice that on the German side (Fribourg), the appellation’s total area accounts for only 1% of the country’s viticultural land.
Taking its name from a hill on the Swiss Plateau, Vully AOC is characterised by its charming countryside vistas, fantastic terroir and a team of forward-thinking wine-makers who are eager to share the secrets of the appellation’s growing success.
The majority of vineyards under this label occupy comparatively steep, lakeside slopes enjoying a favourable south-western aspect. The presence of the lakes - as in neighbouring appellations - helps to moderate temperature and reflect sunlight so that peak summer heat is reduced and the impact of frost on the vines is alleviated. As a result, a number of red and white varieties are successful here including omnipresent Chasselas - the most widely planted white grape in Switzerland, and Pinot Noir, a classic red wine grape that thrives in the molasse, clay soils of this area. There are also smaller quantities of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris (sometimes referred to as Malvoisie), Garanoir, Syrah and Malbec, along with specialities such as Gewürztraminer - a pink-skinned grape variety, rich in natural sugars, which yields full to medium bodied white wines with the distinct aroma of lychees.
Despite its small size, the variety and quality of the wines produced here are a match for much larger appellations in Switzerland and beyond. There is a real sense of contrast and diversity in this part of the country, not least in the language and the landscape of the region but also in the juxtaposition of old and new. By combining traditional wine growing techniques with the dynamism and innovation of the region’s young vignerons, Vully AOC is establishing a fine reputation amongst wine connoisseurs.