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|Vineyard/Cellar Practices||Organically Grown, Vegan|
The Valais, Switzerland’s largest wine region, sits nestled atop the alps in the elbow formed by the borders of France (Haute Savoie) and Italy (Val d’Aosta). Despite its altitude, the upper Rhône valley benefits from hot, dry summers, allowing for a relatively long growing season. Consequently, a range of familiar grapes can thrive on the high mountain terraces of the area, including the predominant varieties of pinot noir and chasselas (known locally as fendant). At the same time, the Valais also boasts its own indigenous varieties: notably the humagne rouge featured here. Also known as cornalin d’Aoste (not to be confused with cornalin du Valais, of course: the two strains are distinct!), humagne is known for its earthy dark cherry flavors. Winemaker Jean-René Germanier, along with his nephew Gilles Besse, have elevated the rustic grape of their native region to new heights of complexity and interest. Their approach is quietly revolutionary: joining the continuity of history with an eye to innovation and a relentless pursuit of quality. While still operating out of the same ancient vaulted cellar where Jean-René’s grandfather first produced wines in 1896, Jean-René and Gilles have worked to innovate and refine their farming and vinification processes. Not only do they eschew herbicides and pesticides and harvest by hand; they also systematically reduce leaf cover to lower yield and intensify the resulting wines’ flavor. Fermentation occurs with ambient yeasts, with cold maceration before 10 months’ aging in steel. Opening with complex aromas of pine, cracked pepper, and earth, this wine presents supple flavors of mountain berries and fresh acidity overlaid on a structure of silky, understated tannins. Seek no further for that perfect accompaniment to your family raclette night.