Mont-sur-Rolle is a prestigious Swiss wine appellation of La Cote, a sub-region of Vaud in western Switzerland. It is centered around the village of the same name, located right at the heart of the 'cote', which runs between Aubonne and Begnins. The name perfectly describes the village's position on the hillside (le mont) above the lakeside town of Rolle.
Mont-sur-Rolle wines come from a neatly tended 370 acres (150ha) of vineyards blessed with a sunny south-south-easterly aspect. The sites look down onto the glacial waters of Lake Geneva, meaning that they enjoy not only high levels of sunshine and reflected light from the lake, but also moderated temperatures, creating remarkably stable growing conditions.
The white wine varieties most likely to be found in a vineyard here are Chasselas, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Doral and Pinot Gris (known locally as Malvoisie). The red varieties are dominated by Pinot Noir and Gamay, with the two Gamay x Reichensteiner crossings Gamaret and Garanoir jockeying for third and fourth place – each accounting for about 10% of Vaud's total red plantings. Merlot is also gaining in popularity, spurred on by its success in Ticino where it has dominated the vineyards since the 1980s. Here in Vaud, Merlot produces reliably soft and fruity wines, typically lighter in body than their Bordeaux counterparts.
The Swiss wine industry lacked a formalized appellation system until the late 1980s, but now a comprehensive structure is in place. In the nation's three official languages, the classification is variously entitled Appellation d'Origine Controlle (AOC), Geographische Ursprungbezeichnung (GUB) and Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (DOC). More than 650 appellations now cover the villages and vineyards of Switzerland, of which this is one. As Switzerland continues to pursue and develop export markets for its wines, appellations like Mont-sur-Rolle will become more readily available and more widely recognized.