Valais Mundi — Ready for the World?

When controversy surrounds a subject it’s sometimes best to let the dust settle before crawling back into the fray. A case in point is the dust-up surrounding the Swiss brand Valais Mundi and its flagship red wine, Electus. From its introduction in 2013, to a recent series of press tastings, consensus has been hard to […]

Mondeuse: The Ghost of Grapes Past

The landscape of Swiss vineyards offered a more complicated puzzle in 1880 than it does today. Not only did viticulture suffer a massive decline during the decades of phylloxera infestation, it endured a mass migration from north to south and an alarming loss of diversity. First, some statistics. Zürich’s area under vine fell from 5,279 […]

Plantscher, Blanchier, Bordeaux Blanc, Gros Bourgogne: Who’s Your Daddy?

The ancient Swiss variety, Plantscher (aka Blanchier, Gros Bourgogne or Bordeaux Blanc), is perhaps best known for having nothing to do with Burgundy or Bordeaux. In fact, it’s an off-spring of the Hungarian grape Furmint and its likely place of origin is Central Europe. What makes the Plantscher story particularly vexing (and ironic) is that […]

Mondial du Chasselas: Les Palmarès 2017

Whatever you call it—the Super Bowl of chasselas, the World Cup of fendant or the NBA Finals of gutedel—make no mistake, this is the Grand Daddy of them all: the Mondial du Chasselas. Sporting analogies are particularly apropos in this, the year of the upset. Never one to flinch at competition, I answered the call […]

Profile: Cave Caloz (Miège, Valais)

A recent visit to Miège was my first trip to the vineyards since the devastating frosts of late April. From all reports I expected worse but was still struck by the sheer randomness of it all. Spring began optimistically with an early bud break, courtesy of a lengthy and uncharacteristic warm spell, followed by an […]

A Wine of Note: Cave Caloz (Miège, Valais)

Syrah, Les Bernunes 2015, Cave Caloz, Valais If not for a recent Côte-Rôtie tasting and roadshow in Geneva I might have skipped over this little gem from the other “roasted slope” above Sierre in Valais. To be honest, syrah tends to be invisible. It’s usually presented in an off-handed way or as an afterthought when there […]