Chasselas non-filtré, the first Swiss wine of the year

The Canton of Neuchâtel is home to a wine tradition born half century ago. Launched on the 3rd Wednesday of January, the Non-filtré is a very special and unique wine that gains popularity year after year.

They call it Neuchâtel Non-filtré, Chasselas non-filtré, or simply Non-filtré. The name hides a winemaking tradition in the canton of Neuchâtel, the origins of which date back to 1974.

Indeed, as the story goes, that year a severe drought resulted in a very poor harvest. This meant that the wine produced ran out very quickly, and the following year the producers were forced to bottle the wine much earlier than usual, and in a hurry to meet demand. Thus, a very young, unfiltered wine was put on sale, which proved to be a success. The tradition had just been born.

And its popularity has continued to grow. Today, almost half a century after the tradition began, it accounts for around 10% of all wine in the canton and virtually all producers produce their own.

An official release date has also been established, as is the case with the French Beaujolais nouveau. Today the Non-filtré is officially released on the third Wednesday of January.

You can try the Chasselas Non-filtré from Cave des Lauriers, Château d'Auvernier, Domaine de Montmollin, and Sandoz et Cie.

Non filtré is a young, fresh wine, and unfiltered (as it name states clearly). This means that lies (the yeast remains left after fermentation is completed) remain in contact with the wine. For an extra fun, one is supposed to shake the bottle before opening it, to ensure lies are in suspension in the wine.

It needs to be pointed that many wines are aged sur lies, but lesser are bottled with them. The lies bring volume and texture, as well as ageing capacity and some distinctive aromas. That's why, despite being a very young wine, Chasselas non-filtré can be kept (and drunk) for some years after its release!

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