Aigle, capital of the Chablais winemaking region:
This beautiful serene town of Aigle is the capital of the Chablais wine growing region and lies south-east of Lake Geneva. Aigle and its neighbouring town Yvorne are reputed to produce what are acclaimed to be the best wines of the region and some of the best in Switzerland.
Brief History of Château d’Aigle
The Château was built in the 12th century by the Savoyards, but was razed to the ground by the Bernese in 1475. It was rebuilt as a defensive function as well as a residence for the installed bailiffs. After the 1798 Vaudois revolution, the castle reverted to the hands of the locals and became the town’s prison right up until 1972! When they couldn’t find anyone to take on the job of jailer, all the resident convicts were transferred to Vevey.
The arrival of the railway in 1858 and three lines of “small trains” in the 20th century helped to bring tourists to the area and contributed to the economic development of the town. Visitors come here for wine-tasting in the old Château d’Aigle.
The castle with its turrets is the main landmark in Aigle and is now home to two excellent museums devoted to wine and wine production. If wine-tasting at 11 a.m. is a bit early for you, you can go for a tour of the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin. The ramparts walk is said to be quite spectacular, with frescoes in the various watchtowers and magnificent views out over the vast vineyards all around. You can also have a leisurely walk around the vineyard and except for a few workers, there’s hardly anyone around to disturb the peace.
A Chance encounter with Monsieur Emery
As we were walking around the lower town area, we came across Cave Alain Emery at avenue du Cloître 22. Monsieur Emery (senior) was preparing to leave as we peered into his shop window, but instead of chasing us away, he kindly invited us into his cellar, took us on a tour, explained to us the grapes in the region and then offered his wines for tasting. Five generations of his family have been cultivating vines in the area and the business is now run by his son Alain. We bought a couple of bottles of Monsieur Emery’s best whites and were really surprised at the reasonable cost.