Dôle and its lesser cousin Goron are well-known Valaisan red wines. They are not grape varieties as such, rather they are blends of Pinot Noir and Gamay (and occasionally with a very small percentage of other grapes). Dôle and Goron are to Valais reds what Fendant is to white, a staple offering in the region. Skiers in the Valais are equally likely to have come across these wines as they are to have encountered Fendant.
Dôle can vary in quality from a light insipid confected wine right through to lovely complex and long lasting examples - serious stuff indeed. Guess what type we're bringing to the UK?
To qualify as Dôle, natural sugar levels in the constituent grapes must pass certain levels, if not, the wine is declassified as Goron, a light rustic quaffing wine with which we are not further concerned. However within this simple definition there is a wide variety of offerings - the ratio of the two varieties varies from 51% Pinot Noir, 49% Gamay through to 100% Pinot Noir (Goron is permitted more Gamay). Generally speaking, the wines with higher proportions of Pinot Noir are better.
Also, since 1993, growers have been allowed to add 10% of other grape types and there is speculation as to whether this is a good thing. Optimists contend that the addition of varieties such as Syrah will improve overall quality. We're open minded about this one as the blends can be interesting, but lose some of the typicity - might as well not cal them Dôle!