This past Saturday (the 9th November) I spent the afternoon in the village of Peissy for their St Martin’s Day festival. The village, which is part of the commune of Satigny in Geneva, has been producing wine since 912 (making this their 1100th vintage!) and has been holding the festival to celebrate these wines since 1995.
To get there, for me, it’s a wonderful 10 minute bike ride away through the vineyards which are even more stunning than usual as their leaves are turning and on a beautiful cold and sunny day I couldn’t wait to get out and enjoy the day.
Despite the village being pretty small there are 7 wineries! All of them are involved in this festival and open their doors to the public for free tastings. As with cave ouverts, you just buy a glass etched with the name of the village (CHF12) and walk from winery to winery trying what you fancy.
The festival begins at 10am with an auction of 7 barrels of the best of the previous year’s vintage (one from each domain and each holding 300 bottles!) with the money raised going to a charity which sends clowns to children in hospital. The lucky winners will receive their wine in personalized bottles at a later date. I didn’t turn up till after lunch so I missed this, but apparently it’s great fun to watch!
The festivities then continue all day with donkey rides and a carousel for the kids and plenty of wine, food and music for the adults to enjoy.
Of the 7 caves and domains that were open I made it round four starting off with Domaine les Perrieres. Researching beforehand I found out that this domain has an impressive number of gold medals and I was looking forward to trying some of them as well as their very unusual Rose de Gameret
After sampling a fair few of their wines I could see why they have so many awards, the only one that disappointed me was their viognier which smelt divine but then tasted rather flat. I ended up buying a Sauvignon Blanc, an oak aged Gamaret and a Premier Cru Cab Sauv and Merlot blend.
Next up I strolled down the hill to the Cave les Cretets where I tried a very interesting Sauvignon Gris (a mutation of Sauvignon Blanc) and a wonderful Gewurztraminer before working my way through their extensive collection of reds. I eventually left with a bottle of Garanoir.
Feeling pleasantly merry it was time to head back up the hill and off to the Domain des Trois Etoiles which was also hosting the carousel and a candy floss machine. Inside was another band was playing and quite a few people were dancing and joining in. While they produce as large a variety of wines as the other domains, they only have a limited selection available to try.
My final stop was Domaine des Charmes which in addition to wines was handing out some lovely puff pastry cheese straws – a very welcome snack as while sunny, it was quite cold out and I was getting pretty hungry. After tasting a few of their wines it was time to head home with all my purchases before I started to lose the light.
For those who stayed the evening ended with fireworks at 18.30! I could juts about make these out from home so I didn’t miss out entirely!