Chasselas is perhaps the oldest known cultivated grape variety. It probably originated in Asia Minor. Some think that the Phoenicians were responsible for transporting it from the Mediterranean into Spain, across the Rhône Valley of southern France and into Italy. Chasselas is quite widespread in Switzerland, where it is planted in almost half of the vineyards. It is also grown in Austria, Germany, and Italy, in Australia and New Zealand.Chasselas de Fontainebleau image first published in Victor Rendu, Ampelographie francaise, comprenant la statistique, la description des meilleurs cepages, l'analyse chimique du sol et les procedes de culture et de vinification des principaux vignobles de la France. [2nd ed.]Paris: Masson, 1857.
Chasselas usually produces a dry, delicate, undistinguished white wine. It also makes vin de paille (straw wine), a golden, liqueur-like wine in the Alsace region of northeastern France and in Switzerland.
Given its popularity in Switzerland, don’t be surprised that Chasselas wines accompany well Cheese Fondue and another Swiss specialty, Raclette, which is Melted Cheese, served over Boiled Potatoes with lots of ground Black Pepper, accompanied by small Pickled Onions and Pickles.. What may be harder to explain is its affinity for Thai food.