Schloss Salenegg: Passing on the fire
Gustav Mahler supposedly once said: “Tradition means passing on the fire, not worshipping the ashes.” This is exactly what winery Schloss Salenegg and the Hotel Schweizerhof have been successfully doing for generations.
Viticulture tradition and Schloss Salenegg have always gone hand in hand. Since 1068, exceptional wines have been cultivated and pressed here in Europe’s oldest winery. But even earlier, in 950, the Pfaefers monastery laid the foundations for today’s castle complex with its vineyard. Then the Gugelberg family came into play. Since 1654, they assure the highest quality and originality and have grown Pinot Noir for over 200 years. Today, Helene von Gugelberg is leading Schloss Salenegg and notes: “I’m so proud of our longstanding tradition.”
Schloss Salenegg’s core competence lies in growing Pinot Noir. The estate’s calcareous slate soils cater for the exceptional minerality of Schloss Salenegg’s grand Pinot Noirs. The wines mature in large oak barrels with a capacity of between 1,890 and 4,370 litres where they get the distinctive and smooth Schloss Salenegg taste, their ruby red colour and their delicate, smoothly spicy bouquet. All in all, the wines perfectly reflect Schloss Salenegg’s exceptional terroir. Helene von Gugelberg says: “Only that which the grape gets from the vine can be found in our wines. Thus, vines that are perfectly compatible with the terroir are vital. Our centuries-old expertise is giving us a significant advantage here.”
Room in the Schweizerhof.
Even though Pinot Noir is Schloss Salenegg’s main competence, the winery has far more to offer. Whether other wines, vinegar, verjus, dessert wine or grape seed oil, all of Schloss Salenegg’s exceptional products are singular in Grisons and in Switzerland. Due to the fact that the old castle walls and the beautiful castle grounds are filled with life and radiate an exceptional ambiance, Schloss Salenegg also offers guided tours to visitors. Another offering is a cooking class with Schloss Salenegg’s Delikat Vinegar.
Vinegar: clearing up outdated preconceptions
Schloss Salenegg is also known for its exceptional vinegar creations. “Those who want the best, should also reach for the best – only outstanding wine is fermented into Delikat Vinegar in our manufacture,” smiles Helene von Gugelberg. After the fermentation process, Schloss Salenegg’s vinegars rest in Allier oak barriques (barrels). “A long maturing time in a wooden barrel is as important for vinegar as it is for wine,” explains Helene von Gugelberg. In the past, vinegar was used for respiratory diseases and digestive disorders, as a disinfectant and also as a beauty care product.
Today, vinegar is the most recognisable and also the oldest seasoning and it is indispensable for a healthy and balanced diet. High-quality vinegars like Schloss Salenegg’s Delikat Vinegar replace salt and refine the taste of almost every meal.
Acla’s Viennese Schnitzel goes perfectly with Schloss Salenegg’s traditional Pinot Noir.
The idea of producing vinegar came early to Helene von Gugelberg who grew up at the estate. “Wine is only the start I thought to myself,” she laughs. “Our high-quality wine forms the foundation for the Delikat Vinegar. The vinegar gets stored in oak barrels for at least two years. Only like this, can the vinegar harmonically develop its finely sour bouquet,” she adds. Schloss Salenegg also produces drinking vinegar which impresses with smooth acidity and delicate aromas. How about a cinnamon vinegar or one with vanilla? Schloss Salenegg offers a vast variety of different flavours that cater for everyone’s wish. Due to the fact that the drinking vinegar isn’t pasteurised, nor filtrated, all vitamins and ingredients get preserved. The bottling, of course, takes place by hand.
Whether as a seasoning, as a digestif, for cooking and even for a relaxing and stimulating bath – vinegar is hugely versatile. Schloss Salenegg realised this very early on and is now a forerunner in offering exceptional vinegars.
Maienfeld is the gateway to the Canton of Graubünden and those who travel from Zurich to St. Moritz are sure to pass Schloss Salenegg. If you do not have time to stop by at Schloss Salenegg in Maienfeld, do not despair! There is the chance to also experience exceptional pleasures and indulgence at the Schweizerhof.
As if producing wine and vinegar was not enough, winery Schloss Salenegg also owns the four-star Hotel Schweizerhof in St. Moritz where guests can enjoy modern hotel amenities in a belle époque ambiance. For over 100 years, the hotel has been known as a homely place where one can entirely feel at home. “We are there for our guests 365 days a year,” Helene von Gugelberg smiles.
Situated directly in the centre of St. Moritz, it only takes three walking minutes to the cable car station Chantarella and various bars and clubs with live music are only a short walk away. Some rooms comprise of beautiful lake views and free Wi-Fi is included. Another highlight at the hotel is its Restaurant Acla which impresses with classic and fresh dishes, such as Viennese Schnitzel or ‘Tafelspitz’. “Light and fresh from the market, with regional products and international inspirations,” – this is how chef de cuisine Christian Ott describes his cooking style.
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | PHOTOS: SCHLOSS SALENEGG, SCHWEIZERHOF
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