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)
Gamay was originally grown in France’s Touraine region, in parts of the Loire valley and, most famously, in Beaujolais. However, the soils of the Geneva countryside now also yield a particularly fruity Gamay. Some Geneva vineyards, such as those around Peney and Peissy, produce a Gamay that can be vinified to keep for five years or longer. Like all the other reds from the Domaine des Balisiers, our varietal Gamay is matured for a year at the winery before it goes on the market. Gamay is the leading red varietal produced by Geneva winemakers. It is primarily a mealtime wine to accompany cold-cuts, white meats and poultry. Unlike most reds, it can be served slightly chilled. It is a ruby-coloured wine with a distinctive fruitiness, typically featuring notes of raspberry and blackberry.