Petite Arvine - Biodynamic Wines
Biodynamic wines are organic wines made following the lunar calendar and the naturalistic beliefs of Rudolf Steiner.
It is a holistic concept - looking at the whole ecosystem through cycles and energy. The goal is to enhance the natural life-flow cycles of the vine and especially its immune system. Memorable processes in biodynamic vinetending include using cow horns to hold the silica which will be buried in the soil and applying specific herbal sprays on precise days.
There is a dose of non scientific magical thinking in biodynamic processes. But as one of my winemakers put it "it doesn't make sense and I feel silly doing some of it, but my vines look healthier"
Petite Arvine, a white grape, is a long established Valaisan grape variety and is one of the varieties that makes the Valais so very interesting. It is considered by many to be the quintessential Valaisan white wine grape.
When vinified dry, the wine can be very classy with excellent structure, a bouquet including aromas of grapefruit, wisteria, rhubarb and honey, a palate of concentrated fruit balanced with good acidity and sometimes a saline note on the finish.
It ages well and because of these qualities, is very popular and is widely grown in the Valais, where there are today some 115 hectares in various sites along the valley from Sion to Martigny.
The Petite Arvine can be fussy in the vineyard being frost-sensitive and requiring quite a lot of water thus limiting the sites which are suitable. Yields are quite low by Swiss standards, from 0.5 to 0.7 litres per square metre.
Opinion is divided over its origins. It is widely believed to have originated from the region of Martigny, although some think it originates in the Aosta valley in Italy from where it arrived in Valais towards the end of the Middle Ages. Officially, it is of "unknown origin". This of course, applies to its parentage, as recent DNA tests have been unable to reveal anything to identify any close relationships at all.