Switzerland welcomes its first wine of the year — the Neuchâtel Non Filtré, during the month of January. Special tasting events are held each year in Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds to celebrate its release. This unique wine, which has become a Swiss tradition, dates back to 1975.
Neuchâtel Non Filtré started after a drought decreased the annual grape harvest, according to Neuchâtel Vins et Terroir. Impatient for new wine, a friend of a local winemaker tasted the unfiltered Chasselas, which had not yet gone through its second fermentation. He asked for a bottle, and the winemaker decided to put some of the non-filtered bottles on the market. Over 40 years later, the demand for Non Filtré continues, and the annual tradition of its January release remains.
Before opening a bottle of Non Filtré, take a moment to turn it upside down and gently swirl it around a bit. This allows the lees to be more evenly dispersed within the wine. The wine will have a cloudy appearance when poured in a glass.
These wines are typically recommended for an apéritif, but can also pair well with asparagus, local freshwater fish or fondue, for example.
You shouldn’t hold off on drinking these wines — enjoy them while they’re young and fresh. On the bottle of Non Filtré from Domaine de Montmollin, they recommend drinking it within the year.
If you’re interested in purchasing some Neuchâtel Non Filtré in Switzerland, and if you cannot find it at your local wine shop, you can place an order online via Neuchâtel Vins et Terroir or reach out directly to one of the vignerons.