Uncommonly good whites
Thursday was a long and intense wine-tasting day for me, with a visit to Lucerne for the annual presentation of their wines by Junge Schweiz Neue Winzer, the Swiss group of young (under 40) wine producers, followed by a conference and tasting session in Sierre in the evening. Two wines stood out during the day.
Dashingly handsome Chardonnay
Martin Wolfer caught my attention several years ago when he was just starting in the family winery after his studies and some time working in Tasmania. His Pinot Noir wines quickly began winning awards. The family already had a reputation for its whites. He created their Pinot Noir Grand Vin, which not long ago became part of the Mémoire des Vins Suisses.
Now he’s come full circle back to impressive whites with a new 2016 Chardonnay. He planted the vines in 2014 and this is the first vintage, so he was anxious to have feedback and was hugely pleased when I said I loved it. It is surprisingly aromatic for wine made from such young vines, and in mouth it is energetic, mineral and simply delicious. I’m smitten! CHF27, cellar price.
Charming and rare, Freiburger from Vully
Another promising young Swiss winemaker is Fabrice Simonet from Le Petit Château in Môtier-Vully, on Lake Morat. I met him a few years ago when he invited me to talk to a class he was teaching at Marcelin in Morges, the cantonal viticulture school. He looked at young as his students, but he was already teaching and promoting wine tourism and developing new projects on the side, while rapidly taking the family winery in new directions, with his brother Stéphane (their parents remain involved). His enthusiasm and energy are particularly focused when it comes to making wine.
I’d tasted the Freisamer on visits to the winery, but he insisted Thursday that I taste it again, the 2018, and I’m glad he did. He laughs that the family has 10% of world production of this rare grape, known in the past as Freisame, which is clearly happy in Vully. It gives a white, aromatic (exotic fruits) wine that has character and is charming and easy to drink, despite its richness and density. It has something else I love, a slightly salty finish I normally associate with Petite Arvine from Valais. CHF27.