The display of Morges wines at the Arvinis wine fair, which opened Wednesday evening, does a good job of showing off the guest of honour wines. It made me decide to taste mainly red wines, a departure from what I usually do at Arvinis.
The basics for an Arvinis visit
My suggestions, based on last night’s tastings, follow. First a couple of tips: do take public transport, to avoid parking hassles and the temptation to drive after drinking more than you planned. With 2,500 wines waiting to be sampled, you need a plan. I usually decide to taste just whites, or maybe 2 white grape varieties, followed by 2 red.
The entry fee is CHF30. You’re given a glass and be sure to hold onto it because that’s your passport for the wine. And do take the glass home as a souvenir. If you take the train and it’s after 21:00 you won’t be the only one carrying a dirty wine glass.
Here’s to Swiss reds!
I began by tasting the Servagnin 2013 lineup, Pinot Noir wines from the Morges region. They have a wonderful story and these are lovely Pinot Noirs, wines that reflect their terroirs well, with a strict quality charter for 19 wineries. Here’s a bit of background, from my book Vineglorious! Switzerland’s Wondrous World of Wines:
Marie of Burgundy, daughter of the powerful Duke of Burgundy, Phillip the Bold, was the pregnant wife of the overseer of the Morges castle in Vaud when, in 1420, she fled to Saint-Prex 6 km away to escape the plague. She thanked villagers with several plants of the grape much loved by her father, thus introducing Pinot Noir (also called Servagnin at the time) to Switzerland. In the 1960s Marie’s vines nearly disappeared but were saved in extremis, just as local producers were adopting the name Salvagnin for all their red wines from all grape varieties. Two last Pinot Noir Salvagnin clones were saved and today a small number of producers in the Morges region have brought it back with a strict quality charter, making elegant fruity wines called Servagnin de Morges.
I had four favourites Wednesday:
“Phenaillette”, winery Romon in Villars-Ste-Croix – elegant, drier and less markedly fruity than some, with a hint of licorice on the nose.
Les 3 Terres, winery Valmont in Morges – raspberries and strawberries on the nose, well-balanced structure, elegant, rich for a Pinot Noir, round.
Marcelin, Morges – a classic with clean lines, and possibly my favourite, with a subtle nose. Smooth, balanced.
Ville de Morges – the city’s own wine is one of the best, slightly fruitier than the Marcelin, longer in mouth than most of these.
Another I liked: Bolle, with good balance and a drier finish than most.
I didn’t have enough time to make the rounds, but some I enjoyed, and they speak English at these stands:
Cave de Genève, “Philippe Chevrier”, a more sophisticated version than Clémence, the other Gamaret the cellar offers.
Les Frères Dutruy, Founex, their 2012 “Les Romaines” Gamaret is inky purple, very smooth in mouth, and they have limited quantities, so ask (say I sent you) to try it.
Try these first, then ask to try blends with Gamaret. Suggested stands for this: Domaine du Paradis, Geneva; Clos, Domaines et Châteaux group from Vaud; Les Artisanes, a group of women wine producers whose wines often show you another face of Swiss grape varieties, particularly in blends.