The soil beneath most of the area is about one third clay, except in Jura where there tends to be more clay. Lully and Peney have higher levels of chalk in their soil and the more highly sited vineyards of Dardagny and surrounding areas have calciferous sandstone and loess. The vineyards right beside the lake are predominantly gravel.
The universally present Chasselas grape is losing ground to aromatic types of grape such as Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling x Sylvaner (Müller-Thurgau), and some Sauvignon, Sylvaner, and Aligoté, which is a speciality of Lully. The dominant blue grape is Gamay, followed by Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
New grape varieties that have recently arrived on the scene are Gamaret, Gamay x Eeichensteiner B 28, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Geneva is in the throes of development and the coming decades may prove to be quite surprising.
The Swiss wine-growing region of Geneva is subdivided into three areas: Entre Arve et Lac (east of Geneva and between the Arve and the lake), Entre Arve et Rhône (west of Geneva and between the rivers Arve and Rhone), and Mandement (north of Geneva, the Rhone, and the lake).
Mandement is the largest of the three areas and accounts for about two thirds of the region’s production. The most interesting Swiss wines though come from the area between the Arve and Rhone, where the ground is gravel and chalk, giving a greater stamp of terroir with hints of flint in the bouquet. These Swiss wines originate mainly for the hills around Bemex, Confignon, Lully, and Sévenoze.
CHASSELAS DE GENÈVE/PERLAN SWISS WINE
These Swiss wines will be found with the name of the canton or community in which they were produced, such as Jussy, Choulex, Lully, Dardagny, Russin, Peissy, Satigny, or Chouilly. Because of strict rules which limit the yield, the quality of Geneva Chasselas wines have improved immeasurably in recent decades. The bouquet is fresh and floral, the taste is lively, fresh, and dry with the not uncommon presence of a slight tingle. Drinking temperature for this Swiss wine is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F).
OTHER WHITE SWISS WINES
Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris from here are excellent. The Muscat and Gewürztraminer wines are very aromatic and of good quality. The Sauvignon is nice but not exactly exciting. Finally the Aligoté of Lully makes a very special aperitif.
GAMAY DE GENÈVE SWISS WINE
Here too the Swiss wine is either given this generic name of Gamay de Genève or bears the name of the producing community. This Gamay is a true-to-type and typical Gamay. It is fresh, fruity, fulsome, comforting, approachable, and juicy. Drinking temperature for this Swiss wine is 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).
PINOT NOIR DE GENÈVE SWISS WINE
This is a very fine red Swiss wine that is fruity and very comforting. Drinking temperature for this Swiss wine is 14°C (57.2°F).
OTHER RED SWISS WINES
The first results from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are very promising. The still rare Merlot has thrived well in the higher located vineyards for some time. Drinking temperature for this Swiss wine is 14°C (57.2°F).
OEIL-DE-PERDRIX/GAMAY ROSÉ SWISS WINE
These two different rosé wines are simple, fresh, fruity, and amenable. Drinking temperature for this Swiss wine is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F).