GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Swiss white wines are so often drunk young that it’s a surprise to find an older one. Chasselas vertical tastings are becoming popular, thanks to efforts by wine producers in Vaud in particular, and we now know that some of them age beautifully and within 10 years they can develop new notes of toast and honey, a deeper, richer colour.
What a surprise, then, to open a bottle of Riesling Sylvaner from Domaine de Beudon near Fully, a 2004, and find that after 9 year it is still young and clear and fruity, a fountain of youth wine.
At CHF17.80 a bottle from the winery, this is both a great wine and a conversation piece. While you’re talking about it, you can mention that the grape variety is also called Mueller-Thurgau in Switzerland, after the Swiss Dr Mueller who crossed Riesling with Madeleine Royale grapes to create the variety.
The nose is fruity and intense, with a hint of licorice and intriguing notes of rose and licorice. In mouth it is dry, rich and has a lovely unctuous finish with mandarin notes. It has enough body to pair well with a meal, particularly fish.
But don’t plan to just drop in with your car, for Marion and Jacques Granges live and work on top of a nearly inaccessible hill next to Fully, which you’ll have to climb on foot unless you want the wine sent to you. The splendid isolation of the winery and the vines is no accident; their distance from other growers and farmers makes it possible to observe the strict regulations that are part of organic winemaking.
The Granges and their wine are included in the new Bio wines guidebook I wrote about recently here.