On chasselas fendant roux
A synonym for chasselas, the principal white variety grown in the Vaud, over about 4k ha (2009), then in Valais over 1k ha, and a couple of hundreds of hectares in both Geneve and Neuchatel . It is moderate to highly vigorous, with potential for high yields.
It possesses naturally low acidity, so use of MLF or not, is crucial. With age, its wines can develop aromas of honey, elder flower and camomile, with an unctuous, almost fat texture . According to , its wines are typically soft, ie low acidity, mostly unremarkable, and much grown for juice and the table. However, as usual, with low yields, the right altitude and exposition, and a dedicated winemaker, then exceptional wines can be found.
Chasselas is also grown, decreasingly, in France – the Loire, Alsace and Haute Savoie, also in Southern Baden, Germany .
This wine: lot No. none, a single bottling run of 3400 bts; varietal 25 y.o. chasselas fendant roux, coated natural cork closure, stained to 15% length; 12.7% abv, Gauntleys, £33.70 (01/20).
Consumer tasting note: A Swiss white with a decade of age, with a golden hue and rich mature profile, of thick honey, roasted nuts, caramelised baked apple, leaf tea, and a hint of anise. Medium-full bodied, smooth, with a medium-long length, and a touch of bitterness on the end – so a food wine.
Drink now – RTD, and will keep for 2, perhaps 3 years, but not improve – Wait. No need to decant, simply savour over 20 minutes or so, as the nose unfurls.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, pale intensity gold, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of honey edged with steak fat, hint of honeysuckle, stewed lightly caramelised apple, a hint of roasted nuts, hint of dried white stone fruit, baked apple, hay, delicate leaf tea, a hint of anise, a hint of raisin.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth velvety tending towards an oily texture, and a light-moderate grip, with flavours of warm thick honey, baked apple, baked stone fruit, a nutty edge. A medium (+) length (~25s), with a clean nutty-honeyed finish, a light-moderate grip, and a slight bitterness on the end.
Quality: very good, finely-balanced acidity (the dribble test suggests higher acidity, but this has to cut through the texture) with alcohol, suiting the rich mature sensory profile; a strong intensity throughout, with a similar concentration, and a fully developed profile of moderate tending to high complexity, with evidence of fruit development (dried fruit), and significant bottle age (cooked fruit, hay, honey, leaf tea, meat fat, nuts); finishes a little disappointingly medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: Drink now, unsuited to further aging, but will keep for say 2-3 years – a sound finely balanced acid structure, with lots of intensity and concentration, and a good length, but fully developed.
- Vouillamoz, J. (2017). Cepages Suisses – Histoires et Origines. Favre.
- Robinson, J., et al. (2012). Wine Grapes. Allen Lane.