LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The Platine Terravin results are keenly awaited every year, just weeks after the harvest is in; the relatively new Mondial du Chasselas wine competition held in the summer hasn’t taken any of the shine off this annual event that puts the spotlight on some of Switzerland’s best Chasselas wines.
This year’s winner is “Filet d’Or”, a fine Chasselas from the La Côte AOC, Féchy, made by Morges-based winery Bolle. The winery’s description: ”
The two runners-up, remarkably, were from the same winery, family-run Croix Duplex in Grandvaux: Lavaux AOC Epesses Grand Cru “Les Chapelles” and Calamin AOC Grand Cru.
Fourth place went to another Lavaux AOC wine, from Montreux, “Récolte choisi” by Cave Vevey-Montreux.
A quality label
Terravin wines are all from canton Vaud, considered the birthplace of this grape variety, so that while the international Chasselas competition in summer bestows a world title, the best from Vaud remain an important measure of the overall best. Philippe Herminjard, president of Terravin, reminded those of us taking part in naming the Platine Terravin winners that the label has been offering consumers a useful buying guide since 1963.
Terravin is a quality label organization for wines – red, rosé, white, sparkling, still, sweet – from Vaud. Every November it invites a group of industry professionals and specialist journalists to select their favourite wines from a pre-selected group of 16 that have been tested and tasted over the course of a year.
We start our blind tasting morning, a knockout of 8 series that takes us down to just two wines, knowing that each of the wines has already passed the excellence test. We begin with 16 wines blind-picked by the organization’s quality judges from among the 150 Chasselas wines that were awarded a Label Or Terravin for the 2014 vintage.
In all, Terravin gave quality labels to some 900 wines in 2014 (2.2 million bottles), about 7% of the canton’s total production.
Wine competitions are primarily about the wines’ quality and judges are asked to leave their personal preferences at home in order to assess the wines as impartially as possible. The Platine Terravin does the opposite: quality is not in question so we’re asked to pick the ones we like best. The judges come from different cultural backgrounds, with a Japanese journalist joining us this year, for example, and participants love to work out if the Swiss Germans voted differently from the French speakers. Women are aligned in some years, but not others. Some years there is a consensus, others not.
The tension builds while we visit the kitchen of Crissier’s Hôtel de Ville restaurant, long known as one of the best in Switzerland. Chef Benoît Violier and his wife Brigitte, who run the restaurant, let us congregate while serving staff and chefs scurry, preparing a meal for us, but also for another dining room filled with people. Our lunch has been centred around Chasselas wines, which we will have with every course.
The winners are finally announced, with a whoop from young Simon Vogl of Croix Duplex when second and third places are announced. He and his sister Maude took over the family winery in Grandvaux in July 2012 and are carrying on a family tradition, for the winery’s Calamin was the Platine Terravin winner in 2009.
Managing director for Bolle, Blaise Hermann, and oenologist Jean-François Crausaz could not have had bigger smiles as they posed for the cameras.