Originally grown for its grapes as fruit, this variety still accounts for some 40 per cent of the total acreage of Swiss vineyards. At the Domaine des Balisiers, however, it is something of a “residual”. In order to give it more substance, its yields are strictly controlled, at 70 hectolitres per hectare. It is a pale golden yellow. Its flowery nose features dominant notes of camomile and lime-tree blossom. It makes a good aperitif white but it also goes well with fondue, raclette, cheeseburger and other cheese-based dishes. We recommend drinking within about two years of the harvest depending on the vintage.
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.
This variety is a crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale that was first bred in the early 20th century by eminent Swiss viticulturist Professor Muller-Thurgau. It is currently one of the world’s most widely cultivated white grape varieties, from California to South Africa, eastern Europe, Alsace, Germany and elsewhere. The Riesling-Sylvaner from Les Balisiers features an elegant note of muscat. It is the most precocious variety grown on our estate, and typically the first to be harvested. Indeed, it needs to be harvested early so as to preserve its natural acidity. It is a very pale yellow. It is best served chilled as an aperitif, and it makes a harmonious companion for cold cuts or finger-foods. It is also thoroughly enjoyable with seafood and even with cheese dishes, as an alternative to Chasselas.