Friday, February 20, 2015

Visit: Ristorante Montalbano in San Pietro di Stabio, Ticino, Switzerland

Pictures: Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours, Francesco Tettamanti, Director of Ticinowine, Carla Maset from Italy (who took nice pictures some of which I am using in this posting) and Matthias Schmidt, our Guide

As part of the 2014 Digitul Wine Communications Conference in Montreux, Switzerland, I explored the wines of Ticino during a post-conference press trip. This posting – Lunch at Ristorante Montalbano in San Pietro di Stabio, Ticino, Switzerland - is the tenth and last one in a series of postings (see below) emanating from my visit of Ticino.

See also:
Exploring the Wines of Ticino in Ticino, the Italian Speaking Part of Switzerland
Touring (and Tasting the Wines of) Brivio Vini SA and Gialdi Vini SA in Mendrisio, Ticono, with Guido Brivio, Switzerland
Polenta and Ticino Wine at Grotto Bundi in Ticino, Switzerland
Visiting Cantina Kopp von der Crone Visini and Tasting with Barbara von der Crone and Paolo Visini in Barbengo, Ticino, Switzerland
Visiting (and Tasting the Wines of) Tamborini SA and Lunch with Valentina Tamborini, Ticino, Switzerland
Touring and Tasting the Wines of Vini e Distillati Angelo Delea SA, with David Delea, Switzerland
Visiting Azienda Mondo in Ticini, Switzerland
Visit of (and Wine Tasting at) Vinattieri Ticinesi, Ticino, Switzerland
Agriloro SA in Ticino, Switzerland: Dinner with Owner Meinrad Perler and Winery Tour
Lunch at Ristorante Montalbano in San Pietro di Stabio, Ticino, Switzerland

Wine Producer Switzerland

Switzerland is a small wine producer with about 15 000 hectares of vineyards only. This is about 15 percent of Germany’s total winegrowing area and a bit more than 1 percent of that of Spain. Only less than 2% of the wine is exported, mainly to Germany.

Switzerland's particular situation - in between four wine-producing nations (France, Italy, Germany and Austria) and itself divided into four different areas with different languages and traditions - has resulted in an extreme diversity of its wines.

Picture: Map of Switzerland

Switzerland has an extensive range of grape varieties. Among the white grapes, the Chasselas is the most widespread. Müller-Thurgau, cultivated above all in the German speaking part of Switzerland, and Sylvaner are also popular. The main red grape varieties are Pinot Noir, which can be found in all the wine-producing regions of Switzerland, and Gamay, which predominates in the Valais; Merlot has found a second home in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, the Ticino.


Ticino is a quite distinct winemaking zone in Switzerland, totaling 1000 hectares. The canton Ticino (and the wine region Tecino) is divided into two regions by the dividing line of the Monte Ceneri Pass: Sopraceneri in the north and Sottoceneri in the south. The Sopraceneri soils are rather stony with a full complement of silt and sand, while the Sottoceneri soils are limestone and deep, rich clays. Ticino's climate is Mediterranean.

Picture: Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours, and Christian G.E. Schiller in Lugano

There are a total of about 3600 grape growers in Ticino and 200 or so winemakers, including a co-operative. The 200 or so winemakers range from pure negociant-type producer (who buy all the grapes the use for their wine) to winemakers that only use their own grapes for making wine. Vineyards are generally small, steep plots of between 3 ha and 6 ha and yields are at 70 hl/ha. 15 winemakers account for about 80% of the total production. The co-op produces 1 million bottles annually.

Merlot is the dominant grape variety. The Ticino Merlot ranges from easy drinking, including white, Merlots to ultra-premium Merlots that can compete with the best in the world (including Bordeaux) and cost US$50 to US$150 per bottle.

Montalbano Restaurant in Stabio

Les If you wish to discover the best of Ticino cuisine, we recommend a dinner at the Montalbano restaurant in Stabio. The establishment is located in an 18th century colonial style mansion set in a vineyard estate 20 kilometres south of Lugano. Its owner, Claudio Croci Torti, loves to spoil his guests with seasonal cuisine and delicious regional specialities: Ticino black truffles, smoked fish,asparagus, aromatic herbs, authentic products and fine wines. If you appreciate the charm of local traditions, you will certainly not regret your visit to the “Montalbano”.

Pictures: At Montalbano Restaurant in Stabio


Pictures: Reception

The Wines

Here are the wines we had for lunch.

The Lunch

Guancialetto di Maialino lessato e servitor tiepido su bagnetto verde alla Piemontese

Riso Carnaroli in risotto al vino rosso e radicchio

Sorbetto all’uva Americana con il suo distillate



Thanks for a great lunch and bye-bye.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Owner Claudio Croci Torti

schiller-wine: Related Posting

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

The 2014 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Switzerland 

The Wines of Weingut Saxer, a Winemaker in the German-speaking part of Switzerland

The Wines of Switzerland – Grand Tasting with (and Introduction to Swiss Wines by) Jancis Robinson and José Vouillamoz

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