Pinot Blanc 2013, Domaine Dugerdil, Dardagny-Geneva (Pinot Blanc): Very pale straw colored. Nose is clean but reticent with small nods to cereal grain and muscat grapes (linalool?). Watery palate with clean but barely discernible fruit flavors. Clipped finish with almost no lingering flavor. Undistinguished. Perhaps a decent summer wine when one is bored.
L’Enigme, St.-Saphorin Grand Cru 2012, Domaine des Faverges, Lavaux, Vaud (Chasselas): Organically grown. Rich golden color. Pronounced nose of herbs, apple, pierre à fusil and roasted peanuts. The palate is rich and slightly oily with an apple/pear texture, savory fruit flavors and the characteristic saline taste. This is from a line of wines known as “Les Innovants” that move closer to the natural end of things beginning with organic methods in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the cellar. All in all an excellent bottle. (Tasted three times with consistent notes.)
Blanc de Comptoir 2014, Paul-Henri Soler, Vin de Pays Suisse, Geneva (Aligoté): Burnished gold that portends an orange wine. Very interesting nutty/cider-like nose with all kinds of dried fruit/marmalade facets. The palate is rich and warm despite the 12% alcohol. Weighty, slightly tannic and textured with a notable, but pleasant, bitter quality which confirms an extended maceration. This is a wine I wanted more of but alas could only ponder in its absence. I understand M. Soler is somewhat of a maverick and is definitely on my list for further study.
2nd Bottle: Similar in color to the first bottle but that’s about it. The nose was marked by volatile acidity which never dissipated. Instead other scents emerged including the above cider and marmalade. The palate never came together as above being marked, unfortunately fatally, by VA. This bottle did not show well and was left behind without any takers.
La Reine et le Petit Homme 2013, Domaine de Chèrouche, Vin de Pays Suisse, Valais (Petite Arvine/Païen): Full-tilt-boogie natural with nothing added not even sulfites. The color is an alarming yellow/orange/red mix and cloudy to boot. An interesting nose of alpine honey, hard cider and marmalade dissipates after some time into an oddly sour aroma of lemon drop candy. The last glass crashed and burned. By the end all that was left was a sour, disjointed stew reminiscent of oxidized verjus and vinegar. The owners are highly regarded practitioners within the natural wine movement so it’s unfortunate there was not a second bottle to try.
Pépie 5 NV, Paul-Henri Soler, Vin de Pays Suisse, Geneva (gamay/gamaret/pinot noir /merlot): Very pale ruby with an onion skin rim. Lovely reflection. The nose is uncommonly savory with clove, carraway, coriander, celery and root vegetables. An odd combination but equally weighted throughout and mutable. Palate is sweet and tingling, not lush, but full of chi. Flavors are herbal, slightly green and spicy with a balsamic note. A very interesting wine that would be lost in a grand tasting of heavyweights and one that demonstrates how vivid a natural wine can be even when virtually transparent.
NB.: I will be profiling M. Soler in an upcoming post as part of a series highlighting the naural wine movement in Switzerland.
Pinot Noir 2012, Domaine de Beudon, Valais (Pinot Noir): Bright, cherry/ruby color. Nose of fraises de bois, spice and pomegranate juice. Slightly reductive. Very tangy and not integrated on the palate. Very fresh cranberry/pomegranate flavors but backwards and awkward. Needs some time to come together but I liked the parts and the overall freshness. This is an interesting producer of natural wines, Demeter certified, whose tagline “les vignes dan le ciel” speaks to the Valais terroir, high-altitude farming and a commitment to the natural handling of wines.