Two Swiss reds
I tasted two reds at Divinum that I would encourage you to try, both of them top end wines, priced accordingly. The first is a classic example of what you can get from Pinot Noir if your grapes are in the right place and you know what you’re doing. The second displays the potential of Humagne Rouge.
Winery Schmid Wetli in Appenzell makes several Pinot Noirs, and the 6TUS one (CHF35.50, cellar price), part of a line with this name, has wonderful aromas of ripe berries and chocolate, followed by a mouth with smooth tannins and depth, with a long finish. The grapes come from steep hillsides not far from Lake Constance, near the Rhine river. This is yet another confirmation of how happy Swiss Pinot Noir is along the Rhine!
Kaspar Jr studied at Changins, and the two other adult children are oenologists; this is family affair to keep an eye on. The winery is the result of a fusion between the work of two winemakers, and when one died without leaving children, the other, the Wetli family, took over the business.
Humagne Rouge comes in many variants, some of which can be a bit rough or rustic but they wash down well with game in the autumn and a lively conversation around the table. And then there is the more elevated versions of this grape from canton Valais, and the 2016 Humagne Rouge from Cave Cornulus in Savièse is exactly this. The winery makes three Humagne Rouge wines, and the one from Corbassières, a sun-drenched vineyard between St Léonard and Sion, is exceptional. Coeur du Clos is CHF45 (you won’t find it on their website yet), a big, rich, complex wine with notes of pepper and black fruits.
And now, just to set the record straight: this grape is an old one from the Aosta Valley in Italy, just over the border from Valais. Its original and scientifically correct name is Cornalin – but it has nothing to do with the wine sold by that name in Switzerland. Italy still grows a small amount, but Valais 10 times that, according to Wine Grapes. Yet more confusing, Humagne Rouge has nothing to do with Humagne Blanc(he) either.
It’s a favourite with game, but the Corbassiere wine will go well with any red meat or other dish with strong flavours that are not overly spicy.