Friday, March 12, 2010
Mauler Cellars, Motiers
Examine the fine arts of sparkling wines and watch making on an easy side trip from Neuchatel to Motiers and Fleurier. You will be driving through mountainous landscapes, but the roads are broad, good and well marked.
Mauler Cellars in Motiers is a good introduction to the little-known Swiss expertise in wine culture. You won't see much Swiss wine in the states because what the Swiss don't drink themselves is snapped up by the French who are a mere 15 kilometers away and know a good deal when they taste it.
The family operation producing bubbling wine has been centered in Le Prieure St.-Pierre, an 11th century priory (Rousseau once lived in it), since 1829 and tours and tastings are available.
Warning: Cobblestones in the courtyard and stairs on the tour.
Next, head to the lovely little town of Fleurier, once the center of fine watchmaking and now coming back thanks to the presence of Atalier Parmigiani.
You've probably never heard of Parmigiani watches. They aren't cheap ($8,000-$750,000) but they are beautiful and created with amazing intricacy and care.
You will develop a new found appreciation for fine craftsmanship here and you might become a bit of a watch snob. When you find yourself checking out the wrists of passersby, you'll know you've been infected.
Warning: Walking by the many jewelry stores here can be hazardous to your American Express card.
For more information on Switzerland, go to www.wellswords.com and click on "Travel: Europe".