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Swiss Pinot Noir Masterclass

This is the second year we run an Alpine Wines masterclass, last year was an introduction to Switzerland. This year we focused "narrowly" on Swiss Pinot. Which there is a fabulous diversity of - and we have, I must admit, quite a few. What can I say? I have a Pinot Problem.

The panel consisted of me, Joëlle, as UK trade/wine merchant, Gilles Besse as a wine maker, and Anne Krebiehl Master of Wine as an objective critic.

It was very well attended (overbooked at 86 attendants with a waiting list!). Were you there? Please write about it ;)

The wines we used:

  • 2014 Pinot Noir Balavaud Grand Cru, Jean-René Germanier, Valais
  • 2012 Pinot Noir Selection, Weingut Hermann, Graubünden
  • 2011 Pinot Noir No. 3, Schlossgut Bachtobel, Thurgau
  • 2011 Pinot Noir Barrique, Domain de Montmollin, Neuchâtel
  • 2013 Monolith, Obrecht, Graubünden
  • 2013 Lapon, Jean-René Germanier, Valais

 

It is a lot of work to pitch and put together a masterclass but we hope it will bring us, and Swiss wine, more attention.

PS: We have over 40 different Swiss Pinots and can put together a variety of Pinot tasting case for you. Just give us a call.

The presentation slides can be downloaded on the media page

one

Pinot Noir Balavaud Grand Cru, Cave Jean-René Germanier

We intentionally started with the unoaked Balavaud Grand Cru to give people an idea of what quality typically Swiss Pinot Noir tastes like. This is the red grape that we in Switzerland mostly drink.

This is a lovely wine - but in a masterclass like this the first wine always has it unfair. As one participant said "I thought the first one was a delicious wine - and then I tasted the others". But for drinking, not talking, it might be the best wine of the whole flight.

germanier_pinot_noir_gc_-_copy

PS: We were sold out of this wine, but it is landing at our Warehouse as I write this on May 10th.

The next three wines also are not flagship wines but very good "middle range" wines that represent exceptional value when compared with similarly priced wines from elsewhere.

 

two

Pinot Noir (Selection), Weinbau Hermann

The Hermann Pinot is a very expressive and incredibly "classic" Pinot which shows the warmer Autumns of Graubünden with a slight "new world" wink.

pnselection2012_-_copy_1

 

four

Pinot Noir No. 3, Schlossgut Bachtobel

The Bachtobel is cooler, more subtle and layered, with that feeling of "sous bois" (forest), typical of eastern Switzerland. We are very near the German border here, in Thurgau, in an old estate which also manages woodland, invests in wild roses and wild bee conservation - but their main love is Pinot.

That it is made on an old Press from 1537 is just added romance. 

bs_rw_pinot_noir_3_-_copy_1

 

three

Pinot Noir (Barrique), Domaine De Montmollin

The Montmollin is a more "French" style, with toasted oak, showing a Burgundian side and yet - to us who grew up with it - unmistakably Swiss. A bit intense right after opening, it really blossoms after a bit of time in the glass.

ddm_rw_pinot_noir__barrique__-_copy_1

 

five

We finished with the Monolith (of which we have maybe half a dozen bottles left!) an intense single vineyard Pinot - the kind of wine that makes Graubünden revered in Germany.

Monolith, Obrecht in der Sonne

obrecht_rw_monolith_-_pinot_noir_-_copy_1

 

Lapon-magnum_side

Not available to buy yet, the rare Lapon (after "laper" which means "quaff") which is a single vineyard Pinot grown at 800m, fermented in the barrel, spontaneously, slowly. For me this was the highlight as I had not been able to taste this wine before, it being bottled only in Magnum. 

The Valais produces the most Pinot in Switzerland, from the enjoyably easy drinking wine we started on, to masterpieces like this.

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