Although it still barely registers on the radar of most American wine drinkers, Switzerland is a viticultural world unto itself, with a diversity of terroirs and a richness of winegrowing history every bit as deep as its better-known European neighbors. We have steadily plied our trade in this Alpine wonderland over the past 15 years, beginning with a quartet in the Valais and expanding into the nearby Vaud in early 2022.
While we weren’t actively prospecting at the time, we received a hearty recommendation this past winter from our longtime partner Sandrine Caloz. One of the most respected growers in the entire country, Sandrine is a deeply earnest and serious person, and her word carries great weight with us. Our hopes, then, already ran high as we entered our first rendezvous with her friend Alexandre Delétraz. It only took a few pours for us to realize that we had stepped into something really thrilling, and after we had finished our extensive tasting and cellar visit, we knew we had obtained not only a new grower, but a newfound understanding of the heights Swiss wine can achieve.
Delétraz possesses a golden combination of intellect, sensitivity, and humility, and he is blessed with holdings in one of Switzerland’s most fascinating cantons: the commune of Fully, in the Valais’ westernmost reaches. Fully represents the only gneiss mother-rock to be found in the country, and its sandy, acidic topsoil contains little clay and no limestone. Furthermore, its eye-poppingly vertiginous slopes prevent the possibility of any type of mechanization—thus making chemical-free farming like Alexandre practices a Herculean feat of labor.
More on Cave des Amandiers here.