In Vogue’s most recent article “Why Fall Is the Perfect Time to Visit Zürich—And Discover the World of Swiss Wine” by Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra, she profiles some of her favorite Swiss growers, including two of Rosenthal Wine Merchant’s very own, Sandrine Caloz of Cave Caloz and Fabienne Cottagnoud of Cave des Tilleuls. Read some excerpts of her piece below, and the full article here.
“There are six wine regions in Switzerland, most easily divided into three groups: French, German and Italian Switzerland. Some of the most serious—and my favorite—Swiss wines come from the impossibly steep, south-facing slopes of the Valais, wedged in the southwestern corner of the country in the heart of the Alps, a three-hour drive or train ride from Zürich. It is home to the famed pyramid-shaped Matterhorn mountain, countless Alpine ski resorts, and a small and serious group of winegrowers making characterful and concentrated white wines: from Petite Arvine, Amigne, Humagne, Fendant (Chasselas), Johannisberg (Sylvaner), Ermitage (Marsanne), Malvoisie (Pinot Gris) and deep, detailed reds of Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Four women, and their families, are among my favorites—meet them all here.”
“Cave Caloz is set in the village of Miège, situated between the town of Sierre and the famous ski area of Crans-Montana. In the vineyard, children and sheep run through steeply terraced rows while the vines are carefully tended by hand. Poppies, roses, mustard, and clover cover the earth, teeming with insects, indicating the abundant life in the soil. Learning about the work of the Caloz family, it becomes clear that the viticultural practice of production intégrée, designed to “protect nature and the environment” is behind all those sheep wandering about—their activities on the land maintain vine plots and fix nitrogen into the soil far better than any commercial fertilizer. Founded by Fernand Caloz in 1960, the winery is a family affair, with Fernand’s son Conrad—joined by his wife Anne-Carole—managing the estate, and their daughter Sandrine at the helm of production. Together, they are responsible for the continued restoration of the land. Sandrine works her vineyards without the use of chemicals, and harvest is always entirely by hand: a devotion to slow and traditional methods that continues in the cellar. The reward for this hard work is yours—don’t miss Sandrine’s chiseled white varieties, or her exemplary gamay that rivals the best of Beaujolais.”
“It’s hard to think of a marriage more rewarding than that between farming and the vinification of grapes. At La cave des Tilleuls, with Fabienne as winemaker and her husband Marc-Henri managing their organic vineyards, this is a literal marriage as well. The winery is infused with the joy of their life together, sustained by the region: fair weather, local foods grown minutes away, cheese from their cow, and wines from their cellar. The Cottagnouds are that rare breed of traditionalists that remain unafraid of experimentation, borrowing vinification techniques from outside of the region in an attempt to unlock the potential of each variety of fruit that they grow. This can be seen in their Jura-style Vin Jaune of Amigne, an unusual and unusually delicious representation of the marquee grape of Valais. All of their wines showcase the compelling minerality of the region, and it is as easy to fall in love with their bottles as it is with their way of life.”