A discovery of Mr. Rimmerman at Garagiste, Cave des Amandiers nestles against the Alps in the Swiss AOC Valais, northeast of Chamonix.
How many wineries like this exist? Those incredibly small production unmarketed master producers in little known wine regions? The “Romance” is painful. Nonetheless, Amandiers truly make some wonderful wines.
While the Domaine makes numerous wines from indigenous varieties, this ‘Ermitage’ is made from the Rhone grape Marsanne, and is one of the most compelling examples of the grape I have come across, akin in interest but not in style to Tahbilk’s old-vine bottling.
Though the grape is associated with France, it has been in the hills of Valais for quite some time and the low-yielding vineyards that supply the juice for this bottle are 50 years old. The steep south-facing slopes capture enough heat for late-ripening varieties such as Marsanne to do well. Farming is manual by necessity on the difficult grade rising from 450 to 900 metres above sea level.
Peach and tropical stone fruits, floral, honeyed and a wonderful waxy texture that you get from the best Marsanne. Yet the wine feels fresh and lively. While maybe recognizeable as Marsanne after much contemplation, I found this a distinctive expression of the grape and a white very much unlike 99% of what is in the market. Highly Recommended. Less than 20 cases produced.
$39 USD at Garagiste