After a couple of days in the Alto Piemonte and the Canavese, Neal crossed over the mountains via the Gran San Bernardo pass to visit our growers in the Valais in Switzerland … herewith his initial comments:
“We arrived in the Valais on Tuesday evening, I introduced our newest colleague, Ross Mattis, to the traditions of the Valais via the 5-course Raclette tasting menu at Chateau de Villa in Miege, then settled into the Hotel Terminus to prepare for a rapid-fire quartet of visits the next morning.
It has become quite clear to me that our foray into this part of Switzerland is about to pay dividends. The quality from each of our growers here is at a very high level. There is a precision (so Swiss-like) to these wines that puts this unique terroir in exquisite relief. As I continue to assess these wines, I am pleased to conclude that each actually presents good value, a rather astonishing fact in view of the ugly exchange rate between the US$ and the Swiss Franc. As a result, I prepared our growers for a possible second “dip”, that is a second shipment during a 12-month period, rather than the single drop we have been taking over the past years. No firm commitment made but something for everyone to think about.
Conrad Caloz, now with the able assistance of his daughter Sandrine, is cranking out some compelling wines. Of particular note among the whites are the 2012 Petite Arvine and the 2012 Heida-Paien. There is a crystalline quality to these wines that evokes the sensation of a fast-running, clean mountain stream. I also very much appreciate his reds, both the Humagne (which I overlooked ordering earlier this year) and the Cornalin for their clarity, drinkability and excellent versatility at the table.[more to follow on Papilloud, Roh and Cottagnoud …]