Domaine de Montmollin, Pinot Noir, Eleve en Barrique, AOC Neuchatel, Auvernier, Neuchatel, Switzerland, 2011
From the 1980s the Swiss regulatory equivalent of AOC was OIC, which guaranteed provenance and traceability of a wine, with ideas of geographical limit, yields and quality control. Regulatory controls on wine imports were steadily lifted from the 1990s, so domestic product had to compete and find external customers. Visible regulation had to support this, as did improved wine quality, and from 2009 they are slowly falling into line with the EU (1), including geographically limited grape source, and concepts of premier cru and grand cru. Overall regulation of the wine industry falls to the Federal Office for Agriculture (OFAG), which sets eg maximum yield in kg/sq.m., which is about 12 tonnes/hectare (GC Chablis is about 8 tonnes/hectare), but pretty much otherwise each canton sets its own regulations for varieties, yields and so on .
Neuchatel canton production is dominated by chasselas (aka fendant) and pinot noir (aka blauburgunder or clevener) for still red and a rose Oeil de Perdrix. There is a little sparkling too.
Soils are limestone based, with variation in clay and stone content. The climate is moderated by Lake Neuchatel, cooling in summer and acting as a storage heater in winter.
Last tasted: 22/05/16.
This wine: no lot number; varietal pinot noir, coated natural cork closure, with evidence of wine creep half way up the cork, which remains well below the bottle lip, with no sign of oxidation, 13.5%, Alpine Wines, £31.80 (05/16)
Consumer tasting note: a pale ruby hue, telling of a pinot noir, with, on the nose, ripe red cherry, red currant jelly, red liquorice with light touches of toast and spice, and a passing whiff of violets; medium bodied, fresh, with a palate of red cherry and red currant jams, a darker deeper touch of ripe blackberry, offset by an edge of dried herbs. Finishes medium-long. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, pale intensity ruby, showing tears, no sediment.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of ripe red cherry edged with low-key toast and a lesser nuance of oak, touches of smoke and beeswax, slighty spicy, red currant jelly, ripe black berry, a floral whiff of violets, red liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of red cherry jam, red currant jelly, touch of blackberry, touch of oak, dried herbs. A medium (+) length with a clean lightly oaky waxy red berried finish.
Quality: very good, well-balanced fresh acidity and ripe tannins with the alcohol, harmonious altogether; good intensity throughout, lesser concentration, showing moderate complexity with evidence of exposure to well-integrated oak and time in bottle, with tertiary notes of beeswax and dried herbs. Finishes medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for a year, perhaps two – a sound structure, but lacking in some respects ie complexity, concentration and length.
- New Vaud AOC wine rules spark battle for top slots. Wallace, E. June 2009. [Online]. Accessed 22/05/16.
- The Oxford Companion to Wine. Robinson, J., Harding, J. 2015. Oxford University Press.
- The Swiss Wine Industry. Mermier, P. 2002. Journal of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Vol.13, No.3, pp.145-149, 2002. [Online]. Accessed 22/05/16.
- Topographic map of Switzerland. [Online]. Accessed 22/05/16.
- Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture – Wine Regulations. [Online]. Accessed 25/05/16.