Wine tasting and grape picking chez Steve

grapesDuring my graduate training in Lausanne, I got the opportunity to learn about wine. It is a unique experience that I assimilated by doing. I must confess that most of the PhD candidates miss such a chance either because of not knowing about this opportunity or simply because of another order of priorities.

dazzlingLong story short, I did my first vendange in 2010, on Steve’s little domain from Sensine– a gem-like terroir, that soaks up with an endless thirst, the gentle and warm rays that the Sun casts over the northern terraces of the Valais. The domain is pretty small, yet the terrain presents a wide palette of geological variety. The view is dazzling! Isn’t it? ;-)

The driving philosophy that stands behind the Phusis brand is biodynamic viticulture.  This makes the wine taste better and, satisfies the high standards of fine wine-lovers and bio product consumers.

workMy main point here is however, by doing I meant grape picking and what makes it special: a hike could be a very rewarding form of physical exercise and mental break from all-day-long decision-making process. Instead it reconnects the individual with earth, wind, plants and living creatures, nature in one word.

For the curious minds, some wine theory from the good old wiki leakyHere is my collection of know how, cheese/food/glass pairing for wine, and some useful vocab for wine tasting.

Nestle Alimentarium

ingenious interior arrangementThis is a very neat come back after my long trip to the US. The first weekend day I actually met up with my dear friend Stefanie, and went to check the long planned to do in Vevey: the Nestle alimentation’s museum.

nutritional pyramidI must say though that the museum itself left us with a slightly puzzled impression. The thread of the story they present over the three levels of exhibitions is very fuzzy. I would have appreciated very much to have a chronological exhibition of the history of food maybe, even if sewed together with Nestle’s contribution to the market.

in the kitchenOn the other hand, the museum offers workshops on different themes, where one could learn by doing, how to… in our case preserve pickles and compote. It was a very neat one hour workshop, in a very cute setting: 4 participants, a chef and an apprentice.

Compote and pickles It was fun and great weather! Would like to go back for another workshop later on… :)

 

 

More pics here.

Lac de Taney

A charming little lake in the Chablais area, Valais Switzerland but on the border with France, Haute-Savoie. It is located at a mere 1408m elevation, yet it asks a good price to the tourists who want get a glimpse of it. We started the hike at a reasonable hour given that it was a Sunday morning and made it by train and bus to Vouvry Poste. By noon when we arrived, the connection from the village to Miex-Le Flon (the farthest point reachable by public transp.) was gone so we started our journey straight from the village of Vouvry. I must say that the hike is not for the faint-hearted. At least the ascent to Miex-Membran was a toughy, but maybe just right to sort our pulse out ;).

Taney

From this point on, we decided to follow the asphalt road, until the Miex-Le Flon, which was fun as well; a different kind of challenge, less steep but also quite calm, since the traffic up there on Sundays is not that crazy after all. Once in Le Flon, we stopped at a local boulangerie and got some chocolat artisanal de la maison which I must say, does live up to the Swiss chocolate standards by far! (at least the dark one). Once off the modern road, we started a short ascent of +400m on the tourist trail. I must say, there are pretty many tourists who want to see the beauty of this lake, since the path was a mess. The weather was pretty rainy the day before in Lausanne, therefore the trail was pretty muddy. Funny was the feeling of walking through the mud, on the way up–felt like walking on pottery clay and we ended up with a nice decoration on our boots, that accompanied us down to the bottom of the valley/home. We fought our way up and made if before the group that we constantly bumped into at each intersecting of the trail with the road, yay! ;-) There it was, the col de Taney opened up and the lake appeared as beautiful as the sunny day we had! VouivreAfter a short walk between the 2 refuges up there, La Vouivre and Le Grammont (named after the mountain range to the west) and decided to go for a pick nick. It was a great idea, since everyone was hungry and sweaty. A real pick-nick with some wind and paddle boarding to our entertainment. Due to the chill and drill of the wind, we decided to not waste time on the shore of the lake, so once finished with the lunch break, the descent was on! The nice thing about not going by car is not having to deal with a return point, therefore we decided to take the exit towards Le Bouveret. The descent was mostly through the forest and much better than the climb to the lake. Fir tree needles covered most of the path at the beginning of the descent, which later on became a bed of deciduous tree leaves. By this time, the road was meandering down the slope throughout the forest, following a well defined rocky path. Not too steep. It must have taken us like 2h.

Eventually we made to the bottom of the mountain, into the village. we took a well deserved break while waiting for the cruise back to Villeneuve, at Le Bouveret–yes indeed, we did skip the aquapark! But the boat ride evened it out. It was a gorgeous detente in the long awaited sun, accompanied by a gentle and rather chaotic wind on board.

cgn