About This Product...
“an under-the-radar Swiss gem” Ernie Whalley, The Sunday Times (Ire) June 2019
“one of those wines that casts a spell over all who drink it” John Wilson, Wilson on Wine 2018
“an impeccably made wine, rich in both minerality and salinity, in particular the latter, which gives it an almost-chewy mouthfeel” McKennas Guides, “well worth your time and money”
“a rarity of a wine… lean and linear… then zesty grapefruit like touches and a crisp finish arrive” Tomás Clancy, The Sunday Business Post 17th April 2017
“Its nose is very pure and mineral with some rhubarb, blossom and exotic aromas. On the palate the wine is bone dry, racy and elegant with great energy and saline minerality. The flavours are similar to the aromas present on the nose with an extra dimension of spiciness and savoury notes.” Julie Dupouy on Newstalk’s Moncrieff Show.
Swiss wines are rare enough outside of Switzerland. Currently only 1.5% of total production is exported.
Petite Arvine is unquestionably the house speciality. The regular Petite Arvine is tank fermented whilst the Grande Année St. Pierre is barrel fermented and aged. The wines both have very strong personalities with a great sense of flinty minerality, salinity and fruits that lean towards grapefruit and lemon. Whilst they are both complex and structured the Grande Année has more weight as well as creaminess from the effects of the oak.
For the reds, Humagne Rouge is often described as being like a slightly denser Pinot Noir whilst we felt it tasted more like a very fine Cabernet Franc. The Syrah de Johnathon is more linear than a Côte-Rôtie, beautifully fine and precise with cassis and black cherry flavours and very subtle oak.
It is often said that Swiss wines are rarely seen outside of Switzerland and that they are very expensive. The rarity aspect is true because of the nature of the vineyard holdings; there are very few producers who make enough to consider exporting. Are they expensive? They are certainly not cheap but in quality terms they easily rank alongside some of the very finest wines of Europe.
“Adventurous wine drinkers will love this fascinating Swiss white wine with its delicate bouquet, generous body, flinty minerality and tangy acidity. A brilliant pairing for savoury flavours.” Aoife Carrigy, Irish Independent December 2016 Top ten bottles of wine to gift this Christmas
“a rarity of a wine… lean and linear… then zesty grapefruit like touches and a crisp finish arrive” Tomás Clancy, The Sunday Business Post, 17th April 2017
“well worth your time and money… an impeccably made wine, rich in both minerality and salinity, in particular the latter, which gives it an almost-chewy mouthfeel” McKennas Guides
The Domaine and the Vineyard
Mike and John Favre form a formidable team and are well known characters in the village of Saint-Pierre-de-Clages in the commune of Chamoson in the Valais region of Switzerland. Today they run one of the finest and most forward thinking estates in the country and do so with a certain eccentric individuality and flair.
Mike is mainly in charge of wine making. His cowboy look is the result of his seven years spent building a wine estate in New Mexico. Recruited straight out of college, he started his commercial wine career in the USA but was already by that stage a professor of oenology as well as having a degree in viticulture. His time in the States not only enabled him to gain invaluable knowledge of running a winery but in addition opened his mind to New World techniques as well as understanding the need to take Swiss wines beyond their national borders. John, who looks after the vineyards, studied at the agricultural college in Chateauneuf in the Valais before finishing his education with a degree in viticulture and oenology from L’Ecole Supérieure de Changins.
With seven hectares of owned vineyard and a further six hectares of leased vines the family possesses a patchwork of 78 different parcels. The layout of the Valaisian vineyards is like no other on earth with 5,137 hectares owned by 22,000 people across 80,000 different parcels. It makes Burgundy look positively uniform by comparison. The setting and the terroir is both extraordinary and extraordinarily beautiful. They are blessed with over 2,000 sunshine hours per year and only receive 600mm of rain annually. Much of the vineyard lies on the right bank of the Rhône River moving from gentle slopes up to very steep terraces of gneiss (crystallised granite) and are found at between 400-1,000 metres altitude.
85% of the Valais is planted with Chasselas, Silvaner, Gamay and Pinot Noir but little by little native varietals such as Petite Arvine, Humagne Blanche, Humagne Rouge and Amigne are gaining in popularity.