Here’s what I’m opening for New Year’s Eve: three bottles I don’t know, none of them old, because I like to look forward at this time of year.
I know and trust the producers and will enjoy learning something new about their work. I think celebrating a new year should mean reminding ourselves to be open to new ideas, activities, sensations and emotions.
To begin, Nuit Blanche from the Grégor Kuonen winery in Salgesch/Salquenen, CHF28.90 from Manor.
This is a wine whose name means “sleepless night,” which seems a good starting point for the evening of the 31st!
It is a Pinot Noir vinified as a white wine, which produces a wine aged in oak (not that common with Swiss white wines) that is golden white with a pink blush, described by the winery as a fresh, spicey wine.
With the meal, Pinot Noir du Valais AOC Réserve des Administrateurs, CHFfrom the Cave Saint Pierre in Chamoson, part of a line of best grapes-best vine parcels for each of the grape varieties this large cellar produces. It’s described as a wine that is robust (will keep well), fruity, elegant and with a good nose. On the palate: powerful, generous, full yet subtle and with a velvety finish.
And after, with walnuts from our friends’ tree, which we’re having in place of dessert, a late harvest wine, Angeline, CHF12.50 at Manor for 37.5cl, from Provins in Sion, Valais, whose chief oenologist Madeleine Gay is a specialist in sweet wines. This is a very large Swiss cellar, a cooperative that will rid you forever of the idea this means inferior quality. It has built an excellent reputation over the years and is racking up numerous prizes for several of its wines.
Given that Switzerland produces some of the world’s finest sweet wines, especially late harvest wines, and that Madeleine Gay was in November named Switzerland’s winemaker of the year, I feel that we’ve come to the source. Angeline is a blend of three white grape varieties, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Marsanne. It’s won several awards, including gold at the major Vinalies de Paris 2008 competition. It’s described by Provins as voluptuous, with a nose of honey and almonds.
Hard to resist ending the year on that note.