Thursday, 8 March 2018

Swiss wine on tour. The London Walkaround 2018

Small but select

As tastings go the London Walkaround Swiss Wine Tasting at 69 Pall Mall was small but select compared to some of the bunfights at other tastings. Over 50 wines came mainly from French speaking Switzerland which is not uncommon. Zurich and Ticino wines were present in far smaller quantities.

This was the third such event organised by We have often hailed Switzerland as a diversity hotspot with countless native grape varieties. Portugal and Hungary are similar small-ish countries with surprisingly varied palettes. Not content with the naturally occurring varieties, there are many hybrids and crosses obtained in Switzerland. Indeed, the slogan of Swiss wine is 'Dare to be different.'

There are other idiosyncracies associated with Swiss wine: odd-sized bottles are occasionally sold to the unwary (70cl, 50cl) and prices are steep. Labels don't seem to be governed by usual regulations and sometimes lack information. Nonetheless Swiss wine is to be treasured and investigated and this event was precious in that regard.

After re-acquainting ourselves with a Petite Arvine (always good) we tried an Amigne. For us, this is not a grape to inspire an immediate infatuation but in this case it gave a strong hint that it was a taste we might one day acquire.

Then our first discovery - a Humagne Blanche. This rare grape is made only by Domaine des Muses and very few others and Robert Taramarcaz was on hand to give us all the information anyone could wish for. That is the value of these events.

Robert Taramarcaz

Our next discovery was a relatively new cross.

Galotta was completely new to us. It was obtained in 1981 at the Agroscope Research Centre in Pully from Gamay and Ancelotta, two of our favourite grapes. The taste spoke of its two parents and so is a good success. We hope it catches on.

Speaking of Gamay, here was a beautiful light one from Clos du Boux, Lavaux

translucent red colour

and here was the winemaker, Gregory Massy.

Just to underline the originality of Planet Swiss Wine, we next came upon an imaginative blend.

Rouge D'Enfer by Provins unites Diolinoir with the two Cabernets and Merlot. Can we say we have tasted Diolinoir yet? Probably not but it was there nonetheless in this rather flavouful wine.

German-speaking Switzerland was represented by Valentin Schiess of Vinigma. Basel, Graubunden and the Valais.

Vinigma wines are made pricipally from Gamaret with Pinot Noir as partner. Humagne Blanche, Petite Arvine, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also involved in different cuvees. The reds are made sometimes by soaking Pinot Noir juice on Gamaret pomace. sometimes by drying the grapes in different ways. Gamaret off the vine for quite lengthy periods, Pinot Noir on the vine for a shorter time.

With the Merlots from Ticino and Chasselas everywhere, you can see how many different winemaking techniques and varities the Swiss have. In a range of 50 bottles, we couldn't imagine such diversity anywhere else.

The producers were uniformly charming, multi-lingual, informative and serious. Swiss wine, we salute you.

1 comment:

Bibulous said...

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