Gilliard 2006 Dôle des Monts Rouge (Valais) – Sticky but light pinkish-red fruit, leaning towards candy but not quite getting there, with a great deal of succulent minerality and a fine, cohesive finish. That said, there’s a sourness that puckers, and combined with the Froot™ the whole thing comes off worked (which I kinda doubt it is, though I’m not certain). Iffy. (7/09)
Gilliard 2006 Dôle des Monts Blanc (Valais) – The memory of white alpine flowers, fragrant and inextricable from the cold minerality underneath, promises much. But there’s a blocky lack of crispness that just doesn’t match the wine’s aromatic topnotes, and while it’s a pleasant drink, in the end it just doesn’t amount to much. Also, there’s the usual Swiss markup, which makes it a poor value as well. NB: this wine should be the “Les Murettes” bottling, rather than a Dôle, yet that’s the label it carries. I’m unable to explain why this should be so. (7/09)
Granges-Faiss “Domaine de Beudon” 2003 Dôle (Valais) – Very restricted at first, and at no point is it a particularly easy wine to warm up to. Tight aromatics, like grated and rusty iron on a high mountain gale, with dark and somewhat dusty fruit attempting to swallow itself in a dark pit of minerality. The tannin is ever so slightly edgy, but otherwise things are in balance here. At the moment, this wine is all razor-sharp squared-off edges, blocks, and geometric shapes; one wonders if time will help it integrate. For those who adore minerality (like me), it should be a bonanza, but it’s just so difficult at the moment…
Dôle tends to be a blend of pinot noir and gamay. I don’t know the particular makeup of this wine (which is brought in by one of the smartest people in the Boston-area wine scene, Jeannie Rogers of Il Capriccio in Waltham), but it is so mineral-driven that it’s hard to really identify the varietal characteristics of either. I can say, however, that I’d very much like to visit the vineyard, which seems to be about the most spectacularly-situated I’ve ever seen. The only caveat: if anyone wonders why more Swiss wine isn’t consumed in this country…well, check out the price: $26.95. Yes, those vineyards must be incredibly hard to work, but that’s a pretty hefty tariff for an appellation almost no one knows. (This is not to say that the price is unreasonable, just that it’s high.) Alcohol: 12.6%. Biodynamic. Importer: Adonna.