Browse Tag


Oud Papi

Papilloud 2009 Amigne de Vétroz Grand Cru (Valais) – Off-dry and thoroughly alive…even to the point of a bit of spritz (or at least a tactile analogue of same)…with a chalky texture that, due to the sugar, veers occasionally in the direction of powdered fruit candy. Yet the wine is not candied at all, though it does seem to be done up in rosé hues despite being a white wine. The finish, too, is notable not only for its duration for the way it starts to swirl and veer like runaway fireworks. A fascinating wine at, like so much from Switzerland, an extravagantly aspirational price. (10/11)

Roy boy

Roh “Les Ruinettes” 2007 Vétroz Grand Cru (Valais) – High-society wildness. Glacial minerality, an almost icy texture, crystals, fine-grit particles, austere lemon pith, and verve to spare. An intensely interesting wine, as intriguing as I’ve tasted from Switzerland in a very long time. (7/11)

Roh “Les Ruinettes” 2007 Vétroz Grand Cru (Valais) – Chasselas. Even weirder than the previous bottle, and in ways that make it slightly less interesting…alien vegetation, white lightning (the atmospheric effect, not the backwoods spirit), and salt taking place of some of the minerality. Though there’s still a good dollop of the latter. A wine-savvy friend once opined that despite riesling’s heady reputation, chasselas was the most terroir-transparent white grape, and the more I taste, the more I see his point. I haven’t come to agreement yet, but that’s because I’ve tasted about 500 rieslings for every chasselas I’ve encountered. Give me time. (8/11)


Roh “Les Ruinettes” 2009 Pinot Noir Grand Cru de Vétroz (Valais) – Overworked fruit, made to spin the gerbil wheel way faster than it’s able. Goopy without substance, candied, almost like wine syrup that has then been diluted with brackish water. I did not like this at all, in case the preceding wasn’t clear. (8/11)


[vineyard]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)

On the Dôle

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)

TN: Humagne nature

Savioz “Clos Chateau Ravire” 2000 Humagne Blanche (Valais) – Closed at first, but it grows in substance and appeal with air. The acidity is schizophrenic…absent one moment, firming the next…and the aromatic palette runs through a series of semi-tropical flowers before settling somewhere in the vicinity of lemon verbena. It’s an exotic, interesting, almost teasing wine. A little more elusive than one would like, perhaps, but still intriguing. (2/07)


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.