Many of the wines tasted this month were courtesy of François Gauthier, the congenial partner at the excellent wine merchant La Cave de Reverolle, who invited me to their annual spring release tasting in Morges. La Cave de Reverolle is a fantastic source for top-quality French and Italian labels and their Swiss portfolio is great for hard to source new releases and older vintages. I have included only the highlights.
La Cave de Reverolle
Rue l’Eglise 3
+41 (21) 800 58 70
Mont-sur-Rolle, “Petit Clos” 2014, La Colombe (Raymond Paccot), La Côte, Vaud (chasselas): A lovely, shimmery platinum color. Brisk, fresh nose of curry spices and fresh pea shoots. The palate is clean, bright and full of citrus oil, apple skin and green herbs. Finishes with a medium length streak of lemon zest and mouthwatering acidity. I like this style of chasselas. Grüner veltliner’s BFF.
Scheurebe, “Les Défis” 2014, Domaine de Miolan, Geneva: Straw color. Lovely, assertive, aromatic nose. Lots of floral lift, grapefruit pith and telltale blackcurrant aroma. On initial whiff I thought it to be sauvignon blanc. Palate is medium-bodied and full of floral and spicy citrus fruit. Perhaps a touch clumsy but the finish is very long and perfumed. Very nice wine. I have been impressed with this producer of biodynamically grown wine. This one is a gold medal winner at the Sélection des Vins de Genève.
Chasselas, “a sigh in the sky” 2013, Vin d’Oeuvre (Kellenberger), Valais (Chasselas): Platinum/straw in color. Very noticeable honeyed nose with verdant, herbal notes. The palate is medium-weight with lots of lemon zest zinginess and the typical Valais aftertaste of citrus oil and stone. Finishes dry and complete. Very good.
Johannisberg, “anywhere anytime” 2014, Vin d’Oeuvre (Kellenberger), Valais (sylvaner): Straw color with slight green streak. Floral, creamy nose with a hint of popped corn. The palate is medium-weight and delicious. Creamy fennel and floral notes linger on the palate. Sweet on entry but finishes dry and perfumed. (I’m not surprised this wine won an award at the 2014 Grand Prix du Vin Suisse as it’s the best sylvaner from Switzerland that I’ve encountered.)
Malanser Grauburgunder 2012, Peter Wegelin, Graubünden (pinot gris): Silvery/straw in color. Faint green almond, vanilla and sawdust nose. Palate is medium-weight with refreshing lemon/lime snap. Textured but not sweet or heavy. More along the lines of Oregon than Alsace, Germany or Alto Adige. Very nice.
Chardonnay 2014, Fläsch, Christian Hermann, Graubünden (chardonnay): Barrel fermented and aged 10 months in 70% new French barriques. Light straw/gold color. Leesy, toasty, miso nose. Underneath is lemon zest and vanilla. Palate is medium-bodied with toasted spice and brisk lemon flavors. Palate is also well structured with slightly shy fruit. Sharp and crisp. Needs a couple of years to soften.
Pinot Noir, “Classique” 2010, Fläsch, Christian Hermann, Graubünden (pinot noir): Aged 8 months in one year old barriques. Healthy ruby red with slight haze. Slightly candied cherry fruit with herbal, cola spice nose. Palate is light-bodied with soft, earthy, spicy, red fruit flavors. Still structured with good acids and some fuzzy tannin. Nice to drink now or hold a couple more years.
Pinot Noir, “Reserve” 2009, Fläsch, Christian Hermann, Graubünden (pinot noir): Aged 10 months in 70% new French barriques. Lovely garnet/ruby color to the rim. Deeper more undeveloped nose than above with more loamy earth. The palate is structured with more fresh red fruit and green herbs. This reminded me of a mid-eighties Oregon pinot noir before clonal diversity kicked in. When I asked Herr Hermann if this was from the Wädenswil clone he mentioned his entire property is planted to it. I think it makes for a delicious if somewhat simpler wine.
Pinot Noir, “H” 2011, Fläsch, Christian Herman, Graubünden (pinot noir): From the discreet, old-vine Stritaberg parcel. Aged 10 months in 100% new French barriques. More assertive nose of roses, cola spice and slightly singed red fruit. Palate is rich with root spice, ripe berries and well poised tannin. This is still holding back but promising in the mid to longer term. Around five years in bottle would serve it well.
Pinot Noir, “Sous-le-Bois” 2014, Chigny-sur-Morges, Dion-Labrie, La Côte, Vaud (pinot noir): Wow! I have no idea how this will develop but it is absolutely delicious right now. The color is ruby turning to brick on the edges and quite hazy. The is some unresolved CO2 that manifests as beads on the rim. The nose reeks of framboise eau de vie and strawberry preserves. With air it takes on the aroma of walnut skin and green herbs. The palate is sweet and beautifully textured with raspberry liqueur flavor and sweet spices. My only concern is the seeming low acid/high pH profile which does not bode well for extended aging. Somewhat reminiscent of California pinot noir but this is from the Vaud. Needless to say one of the most interesting pinots from La Côte that I have tasted. I’m impressed.
(Very natural winemaking at Dion-Labrie: Dijon clones; 60% whole cluster; 50% native yeast/50% natural; 13 months in barrique partly new; 4 months in INOX tank after assemblage; no sulfur except minimal amount at bottling.)
Assemblage Rouge, “red temptation” 2013, Vin d’Oeuvre (Kellenberger), Valais (gamaret/syrah): Solid, opaque garnet with some purple to the rim. Dense, full, rich nose of black fruit (stewed blueberry), green tobacco and berry thicket in summer heat. I anticipated an over-extraction of fruit but was was bowled over by a fruit crème texture and spot-on blackberry/raspberry flavors. Tannins are delightfully dusty and harmonious. Very primary and undifferentiated. Absolutely delicious now but where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Gamaret, “flames of desire” 2013, Vin d’Oeuvre (Kellenberger), Valais (gamaret): This is aged for 18 months in barrique. Impressively opaque, blue/black in color. A penetrating blackberry liqueur nose is insistent. The palate is thick with a velvety fruit crème texture and saturated flavors of blackberries, vanilla and milk chocolate. It is tannic but not rough, chewy but not coarse. I have never had a more concentrated gamaret and, to be honest, another one might not exist. This reminded me very much of the first vintages of the ground-breaking French property Mas de Daumas Gassac in the late 1970’s—early 1980’s.
(The red wines from the Kellenberger’s are cold-soaked for one week in temperature controlled INOX tanks before fermentation to preserve the pure fruit quality of the grapes. They have succeeded in doing just that. There might be something special going on here.)
Cornalin, “Réserve du Caveau” 2004, Fernand Cina, Valais: Fading garnet with brick edges. Superb brandied cherries on the nose with sweet, stewed red fruit. A little sauvage. Palate is middle-weight and gorgeously textured. Perhaps drying just a touch but otherwise ripe, roasted, sweet red fruit in a sexy, silky slip. Absolutely delicious and at a peak of maturity. Very nice.