Having identified the outstanding potential of a 0.7 hectare vineyard planted with Pinot Noir in Peissy, we undertook to enhance the quality of its produce further by limiting its yield (8-10 bunches of grapes per vine), delaying the harvest, and vinifying it separately. Ilôt Noir spends three weeks in fermentation tanks in order to maximize its concentration by enhancing its tannins, substance and colouring. It is then matured for a year in large oaken barrels (“foudres”) for micro-oxygenation and aromatic subtlety, and subjected to minimal filtration. With its garnet-red colour, this Pinot Noir varietal features a nose of remarkable freshness, fragrant with raspberry. On tasting, its flavours strike a harmonious balance between subtlety and the smoothness of silky tannins. It holds the promise of great potential for ageing.
In 2004, the Domaine des Balisiers decided to plant a new white grape variety experimentally. After numerous tastings and a thorough investigation of the characteristics of our soils, we decided to try the traditional variety of the Loire valley, namely, Chenin. This was to be the first such experiment in Switzerland. In 2004-05, we thus planted three hectares of Chenin Blanc from the massale selection of the Gibault nursery at Jugné sur Loire, which we trained and pruned in the open lyre shape. Our Chenin Blanc is matured for 12 months in clay amphora without undergoing malolactic fermentation in order to preserve the best of its freshness. This successful experiment has enabled us to produce two radically different white varietals. The first is dry and mineral, while the second, made from late-picked grapes, is our only sweet white wine.
The hallmark of our Sauvignon Blanc is that it is vinified without a second (malolactic) fermentation in order to preserve the fullness of its vivacious character. This variety is grown in the gravely soils of Plan-les-Ouates, on the left bank of the Rhône. Its pale colour gives nothing away of the explosion of exotic aromas that characterizes its nose! It is redolent of mango, lime and other tropical fruit. On tasting, it fully delivers on its promise of intensity, blending citrus fruit with efflorescence of black current. Also notable are its full-bodied texture and long finale of freshness. “The Sauvignon Blanc, which grows so well in the Geneva canton, was highly enjoyable on account of its aromatic complexity combining black-current efflorescence, elderberry flower and tomato leaf, blending into vivid expressiveness and the varietal’s characteristic freshness” (24h)