A small group of wines for this month's Randomly Chosen feature shouldn't fool you into thinking there hasn't been a lot to drink—there has—just not enough of the good stuff. I'll try to remedy that on my trip to California in the beginning of October. In the meantime this coming month will feature my round-up of the most recent Memoire & Friends tasting in Zürich as well as a piece on the relationship between the natural wine movement and the current fashion for preserving native, nearly extinct varieties. Of course there will be a Swiss angle, as always. Stay tuned as well for a surprise or two from San Francisco. Salut!
Petite Arvine 2013, Jean-René Germanier, Vétroz, Valais: Pale straw with gold hints. Very bright Lemondrop cocktail nose with crushed stone and a hint of mandarin. Palate is soft and developed with lemon, cream and diffused minerals. Not terribly long and not exactly fresh but a good example of à point petite arvine. Very pleasant.
Petite Arvine, Réserve 2012, Histore d'Enfer, Valais: Straw colored with gold and green highlights. Wow! Intense mineral, pierre à fusil, lemon curd and popped corn nose. Toasty but linear and bright. Great depth of fruit with lemon, grapefruit and light petrol flavors. Very textured, creamy palate. Sensational wine. This is a great example of how wonderful petite arvine can be.
Dôle, La Liaudisaz 2013, Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, Fully, Valais (gamay/pinot noir): Garnet in color with just the slightest hint of browning. Lovely, spicy pinot nose suggesting crunchy fruit. Fragrant cedar and balsam woods with herby, cranberry fruit. Palate is tight with mouthwatering acids and bright spicy fruit. More pinot than gamay, meaning more complexity than a typical Dôle. This is very good.
Gamay 2014, Cave des Tilleuls, (Fabienne Cottagnoud) Vetroz, Valais: Ruby garnet in color. Serious nose of red fruit, crushed stone and a hint of reduction. Very savory palate of dried herbs and wild cherry fruit. Just a touch austere and closed up right now with a lot of angles. Needs a bit of time to come together.
Merlot 2014, Les Hutins, Dardagny, Geneva: Garnet colored with a slightly opaque middle. Loamy, leafy and slightly cedary aroma that is fairly broad and lacking in punch. Cool fruit, mostly plum, with olive and earth on the palate. Just a tad unfocused and lacking confidence. Just OK.
Cabernet Franc 2014, Domaine Mermoud, Lully, Geneva: Garnet in color with an opaque middle. Savory, earthy nose with blonde tobacco and roasted fruit. Slight hint of reduction as well. Palate is a bit one-dimensional with flat flavors of roasted plum, earth and dried meat. Lacks a bit of defining acidity. Not bad just not very exciting.