Graves Rouge (Merlot)
AOC Valais, Didier Joris, 2011
|Origin:||Switzerland / Wallis|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 15 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Meat terrine, Saddle of lamb fillet with herb jus, Roasted lamb gigot, Roast saddle of venison, Bistecca fiorentina, T-Bone steak, Wild boar entrecôte with Spätzli|
|Vinification:||long must fermentation, Punching down, cooling period|
|Maturation:||in partly new and used barriques/ Pièces, short cultivation|
|Maturation duration:||7 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.
Valais: Alpine wines with class
More than 20 varieties of grapes can yield wines in Valais that are full of character. A large number of them grow on spectacular, steep slopes. Sealed off by mighty chains of mountains, old plantings like Petite Arvine, Amigne and Cornalin have survived in Valais, and today they are highly sought-after by wine enthusiasts. The highest vineyards in Europe are also found in Valais: the Savignin vines (known here as “Heida”), rooted in the mountain community of Visperterminen.
Didier Joris is a legendary figure in the Valais, where the history of wine would be unthinkable without him. He grew up in a farming family that initially concentrated on raising cattle. To this very day, Didier still raves about «his Queens», the Hérens fighting cows. It was only during the 1960s and 1970s that the Joris family began to terrace slopes to plant vines and cultivate vineyards.
As the family did not have much expertise in this sector at that time, young Didier attended the Agricultural College of Châteauneuf. From there he went on to complete an internship in Germany, where he not only gained experience in viticulture, but also as a baker, butcher and in wine laboratories. After qualifying at Changins, he began working as a lecturer and researcher at the College of Oenology and Viticulture at the age of 21. He taught such greats as Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, Jean-René Germanier, Denis Mercier, Marie Bernard Gillioz and numerous other talents.
Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.