Cuvée 1844 Viognier
Ostschweizerlandwein (Thurgau), Roland und Karin Lenz, 2019
Viognier is developing into a genuine star among wine connoisseurs! The indigenous grape variety of the northern Rhone Valley produces full-bodied white wines of aromatic complexity - and now also on the Iselisberg, in the canton of Thurgau. This Lenz-Viognier beguiles the nose with an aromatic prelude reminiscent of apricot, greengage, quince compote and citrus fruits. A cool minty spice accompanies vanilla confectionary and delicate magnolia blossoms. The first sip reveals just how soft, mouthful and yet assertive this Viognier is. Grapefruit, red apple peel and herbal notes with a salty finish accompany its elegant body. A poetic delight with pumpkin velouté, freshwater fish in cream sauce, chicken or ricotta-lemon ravioli.
|Origin:||Schweiz / Ostschweiz / Thurgau|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 4 years|
|Serving temperature:||10 to 12 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Apéro riche, Fresh water fish with cream sauce, Fish terrine, Crispy roast chicken, Goat's cheese|
|Vinification:||fermentation in steel tank, pressed carefully and immediately, fermentation at low temperatures|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in steel tank, in partly new and used barriques/ Pièces, on the yeast, bâtonnage|
|Maturation duration:||10 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.
Saved from extinction
It’s hard to believe that the Viognier nearly became extinct 50 years ago. Today, it grows worldwide on over 10,000 hectares. The variety was first mentioned in 1781, and probably originated in Condrieu, in the northern Rhône Valley. There, and in the 3.8-hectare mini-appellation of Château-Grillet, vintners kept it on the post when the rest of the world wanted to know nothing about it. Its inventory shrank to a meagre 14 hectares. This is because it provides only low yields, and for a while there were no good seedlings. In the 1980s, interest in Viognier reawakened. It actually shows a unique profile: deep golden with good body and aromas of apricot, lime blossom, citrus fruits, honey and hazelnut. It is popular in the Languedoc region, flows into the white Côtes du Rhône and also does very well in California. The best examples fit wonderfully with poultry in cream sauce, noble fish like turbot or – why not? – lobster.