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Winery #92: Weingut Schloss Salenegg (Maienfeld, Switzerland)

Built by monks in the year 950, Weingut Schloss Salenegg is the oldest winery in Europe! Upon arriving at the castle (Schloss means “castle" in German), we found ourselves immediately in awe of its presence amongst the vineyards. The winery does not require reservations, and we just needed to call the host once outside the tasting room. Our host, Sonja, quickly met us and gave us an indepth overview of the estate. Apart from the oldest vineyard accolade, the Gugelberg von Moos family has owned Schloss Salenegg since 1654. We believe we may have crossed paths with the current owners while taking photos and videos in the courtyard. During our conversation with Sonja, we learned that the estate produces distilled liquor, olive oil, and vinegar in addition to its wine.

Throughout tasting nine wines from Weingut Schloss Salenegg, Sonja educated us on the various grapes and vineyard methods, and how the winemaker produces each wine. The estate is replanting some vineyards in the next few years to include two fungus-resistant varieties, Sauvingac and Cabernet Blanc. Without the threat of fungus due to moisture in the vineyard, Weingut Schloss Salenegg can focus on promoting biodiversity through organic viticulture, completely eliminating the need for anti-fungal sprays. We've never had the pleasure of tasting wines from those two grapes, and we are very interested in seeing the outcome!

From the wine tasting line-up, we most enjoyed the 2020 Molina Pinot Noir. The climate of this region of Switzerland, known as Graubünden, resembles that of Burgundy, so Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive here. Some refer to Graubünden as the Burgundy of Switzerland, or is Burgundy the Graubünden of France? The Pinot Noir's name comes from Knight Anton von Molina, whose ghost haunted Schloss Salenegg since his death in the 16th century after his wife's betrayal. Besides wine, we are always up for a good ghost story! We found the wine to have a great body and show fantastic aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with influences from the twelve months of oak aging, including vanilla and cedar.

Weingut Schloss Salenegg is free to visit and taste the wines without an appointment, and they also offer cellar tours every Friday at 3 pm and the first Saturday of the month at 2 pm. Registration is necessary for the cellar tours.

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 2 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Standing Bar Tasting

Reservations Needed: No

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