AOC Valais (Chamoson), Didier Joris, 2017
|Origin:||Schweiz / Wallis|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 6 years|
|Serving temperature:||10 to 12 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Fish ragout with saffron sauce, Roast veal with morel sauce, Rabbit ragout with olives, Scaloppine di vitello al limone|
|Vinification:||with stalks attenuated, fermentation in wooden barrel, Pumping over|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in partly new and used barriques/ Pièces|
|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.
Better in twos than alone
The Marsanne features a distinctive bouquet of flowers, cherries and marzipan. This white grape probably comes from the area around the village of Mars Anna on the Drôme, a tributary of the Rhône. Today, their stronghold is in the northern Rhône Valley, in the fields of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph. Wherever Marsanne grows, Roussanne is not far away. Both grapes are closely related. They are even mentioned together in a document from 1781. They complement each other perfectly: the low-acidity Marsanne brings its original flavours, while the Roussanne contributes liveliness. Further south, together they shape the white Côtes du Rhône. However, Marsanne cannot be incorporated into the white specimens of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The reason is simple: when grape varieties were being determined in the 1930s, it was not yet known there. It has been cultivated in Australia since the 1860s. In Switzerland, it is known as Ermitage. Here it yields dry and sweet wines with enormous storage ability.