Lafnetscha is an ancient, extremely rare Swiss grape variety used in the production of white wine.
The obscure Lafnetscha grape is grown exclusively in the Upper Valais region of Switzerland, where it thrives in the cool conditions. It’s presence was first recorded in this area as long back as the early seventeenth century, however were it not for the intervention and ingenuity of local producers, it would most likely have disappeared from the nation’s vineyards.
The name Lafnetscha is thought to derive from local Swiss German dialect Laff nicht schon which means ‘don’t drink already’. This refers to these wines being less approachable in youth, with the potential to improve markedly with age.
Lafnetscha wines are generally dry and full bodied. A complex aromatic profile which includes bergamot, pine forest and ripe bananas, is matched by intensely concentrated fruit flavours and a lively acidity. Wines from this variety are very refreshing and make ideal accompaniments to typical Swiss dishes raclette and fondue.
Kellerei Chanton of Visp, is the most prominent producer of wines from the Lafnetscha grape. The Chanton family have been rescuing obscure grapes from extinction since the middle of the twentieth century, and it was Josef-Marie Chanton - son of the winery’s founder - who reintroduced the thought to be extinct Lafnetscha variety in the late 1970s.