Thurgau, Roland und Karin Lenz, 2019
The bouquet presents itself with fruity aromas of ripe berries paired with a touch of spiciness. On the palate it appears soft and round thanks to the well integrated tannins. The pleasant acidity gives it a lively and fresh finish. A beautiful all-rounder!
|Origin:||Schweiz / Ostschweiz / Thurgau|
|Grape variety:||Pinot noir, Regent, Zweigelt, Rondo|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 4 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Apéro pastries, Apéro riche, Grilled fish, Spiced grillades, Orecchiette, Strozzapreti alla siciliana, Vegetable pie|
|Vinification:||short must fermentation, fermentation in wooden barrel|
|Maturation:||in used barriques, partly in steel tank, short cultivation|
|Maturation duration:||6 months|
Switzerland – A small country with enormous diversity
Switzerland is famous for its banks, watches, and cheese, but not necessarily for its wine. The Swiss didn't invent wine, but they have been extremely open and curious to it. Wine culture arrived in what is now modern Switzerland via several routes: from Marseilles to Lake Geneva and the Lower Valais region; from the Aosta Valley through the Great St. Bernard Pass to the rest of Valais; from the Rhone through Burgundy, across the Jura Mountains to Lake Constance; and from Lombardy to Ticino, and then on to Grisons.
Eastern Switzerland: an intriguing puzzle
Eastern Switzerland has long been positioned on the northern rim of the climate zone where the cultivation of popular Swiss varieties is possible. Due to a warming climate, the vineyards of Aargau, Zurich, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Graubünden are now in the zone where varieties such as Müller-Thurgau or Pinot Noir succeed excellently. But even long-established, almost-forgotten varieties such as Elbling, Räuschling and Completer are experiencing a renaissance.
Thurgau: a small wine canton shows contour
Although Thurgau is a smaller wine-growing canton, with a cultivation area of just 260 hectares, six different growing zones can be differentiated here. The heart of viticulture in Thurgau is the Thur valley, with its two prestigious sites, Ottenberg at Weinfelden, and Iselisberg near the canton's capital, Frauenfeld. The reference variety is very clearly Pinot Noir, from which a series of premium wines is produced today. But red and white specialties are also on the rise. And the long-spurned Müller-Thurgau variety is experiencing a renaissance.
Roland und Karin Lenz
In 1994, while Roland Lenz was still studying oenology, he and his wife Karin were able to acquire eight hectares of vines on the Iselisberg. It was a unique opportunity that they seized, even though they were toying with the idea of setting up their own business abroad, far from Switzerland. They actually did so later, but that's another story…
It is only in the last two decades that the Canton of Thurgau has really come to the attention of wine lovers as a wine-growing area. Its apple orchards and the apple juice (must) pressed from the picked fruit have always been popular, inevitably earning the canton its nickname of «Must India». Viticulture, however, has existed in this region for centuries.
The Regent is the crown jewel in the portfolio of organic winegrowers. This hybrid contains a small proportion of non-European forest vines, which are highly resistant to adverse weather conditions and diseases. Thus the Regent, through inheritance, belongs to the “PIWIs”, the fungus-resistant varieties. Its trump card, however, is that the wines taste extraordinarily good – something which is far from guaranteed with crosses. It shines with velvety tannins and aromas of cherries and berries, and is ideal for barrique ageing. It was bred in 1967 in the Palatinate region. In the meantime, it has also gained a foothold in this part of the world, especially in the vineyards of Zurich and Schaffhausen. Wineries in England and Belgium appreciate it for its high frost tolerance. The Regent was named after a famous diamond, found by a slave in 1701 in a mine in India. It graced the first crown of Louis XIV, and later, Napoleon’s sword pommel.
Flatterer with a backbone
The Zweigelt is an Austrian original. Fritz Zweigelt crossed it in 1922 at the Klosterneuberg Orchard and Viniculture School ("Obst- und Weinbauschule Klosterneuburg") from the red varieties Blaufränkisch and Saint Laurent. Zweigelt's main quality is being marvellously drinkable. With its exuberant berry fruit and juicy structure, it fits like no other to the pleasurable lifestyle of our Austrian neighbours. One thinks, for example, of a hearty Brettjause in the wine tavern. It can, however, also assemble well with other grape varieties, and expand in wooden barrels for more backbone. No wonder it is the most planted grape variety in Austria. One curiosity: the Japanese island of Hokkaido grows 230 hectares of Zweigelt.
Blueprint of the terroir
No other variety expresses its terroir as precisely as Pinot noir. It is a sensitive, fragile grape. But when it succeeds, it gives the world some of its very greatest wine plants. It especially excels in Burgundy, where it has been cultivated for at least 700 years. Even in the middle ages, it was considered so precious that it was kept separate from other grapes so as to not diminish its value. The finest examples are delicate and fragrant with aromas of cherries and red berries. With maturity, notes of forest floor, leather and truffles enter as well. An irresistible fruity sweetness still shines through, even after several decades. The Pinot noir does well in cool locations: in Switzerland and in Germany, where it is known as Blauburgunder and Spätburgunder respectively; in Alsace and in South Tyrol, in Oregon, New Zealand and Tasmania. Not least, it yields fantastic champagnes. It is a wonderful culinary companion. With its soft tannins and charming bouquet, it meshes with everything, from Güggeli and cheeses to fried fish.
Not afraid of Jack Frost
The red Rondo grape belongs to the “PIWIs”, the fungus-resistant varieties. These are varieties in which one of the two crossing partners is of non-European descent. Indeed, unlike the European Vitis vinifera vine class, from other continents are resistant to fungal diseases such as powdery or downy mildew. Such crosses are also called hybrids. In the case of the Rondo, the wild Asiatic grape used is also frost-resistant – a boon for vintners in very northerly wine cultivation countries like England, Belgium, the Netherlands or Denmark. The Rondo was bred in former Czechoslovakia in 1964, and further developed in Germany. It occupies the largest cultivation area today in Great Britain. Glossy red with dark fruit and soft body, it is well-suited for aging in French oak casks.