TN: A true once-in-a-lifetime tasting - 27 wines by Marie-Thérèse Chappaz

For those interested in Swiss wines, Stephan Reinhardt just published an article on Gantenbein and Donatsch yesterday.

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Great work again Otto, chapeau!

I visited with M-T Chappaz in 2005 and she took us up to her vineyards and to the almost centenary Hermitage/Marsanne vines. They are pruned the tire-buchon Gobelet way, a pruning system I think only used in the Valais and quite impressive. I think you find images of the pruning system on her website.

At that time the Fendant Plamont was traditionally with MF while the Président Troillet was without. Although I like white with a pronounced acidic spine I find the MF suits Chasselas from these soils better.

I share your view on the Petite Arvine. Young they are often fat and flabby. With age however, they can gain in elegance and balance and the minerality shows more pronounced, which you seem to have experienced with the 2014.

I‘m not too fond of her Pinots either, I prefer her Grain Mariage and Sauvage by far, the Syrah is fine stuff, too.

And yes, her sweet wines made of Petite Arvine and Ermitage/Marsanne are spectacular.

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Yep, impressive tasting and line up. Love her Syrah. In the top bracket for sure. Great read.

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Fwiw, Marie-Therese graciously is raiding the winery reserves for me, and I’ve got an offer lined up for almost the full range of new releases which will come out next week… [cheers.gif]


Thanks for the tip on Markus Ruch - we had a 2018 pinot noir (Hallau Cholle) by him a few days ago. Best wine of the trip. We asked the sommelier for guidance on lower alcohol Swiss pinot, and this was recommended at 13% (vs ao Chappaz that was higher, of course that’s from the Valais). Incredible pinot that brings you to Burgundy with a cool pinot nose, but still different in its own way. Palate was also very nice, with ripeness balanced by sufficient acidity. More cool climate than most 2018 red burgundies! We paid 115 CHF so around a 3x mark-up on Swiss retail.

Some info on the estate I found later on: “Markus Ruch is a biodynamic grower based in the Klettgau valley, close to the German border. After working with Swiss pioneers like Marie-Thérèse Chappaz and Christian Zündel in Tessin, Markus spent some time with a number of biodynamic growers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with Pinot Noir. In 2007 he decided to return to his roots and set up his 3 hectare estate not far from the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. Only 400 hectares of vines are planted in the Klettgau region, and most of the vines are used for large quantity production rather than terroir driven wines. However, the Klettgau’s climatic conditions and limestone rich soils are perfect for yielding elegant and restrained expressions of Pinot Noir.

Markus works with old Swiss clones of Pinot Noir rather than Burgundy clones, believing that the local vines are better suited to expressing the regional terroir. His vines are among the oldest in the region, planted on parcels that date back to the 14th century. Markus also works with a number of different local grapes such as Müller-Thurgau, which he ferments on the skins in amphorae. The focus is very much on biodiversity in the vineyards and minimal intervention in the cellar. All his wines are fermented using natural yeasts and bottled unfiltered, with only a small addition of sulphur.

Also had a good 2018 Gamay from Christophe Abbet and a 2014 Cornalin from Marie-Bernard Gillioz. Both also recommended.

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