The Wine of the Alps

Today, July 24th we will be hosting Trey Stephenson from Neal Rosenthal Imports (Mad Rose) for a dinner focused on the wines of Switzerland and the Valle d’Aosta of Italy. This will be a dinner featuring wines that rarely make it to North Carolina, wines so good that barely 2% of them are exported, the rest consumed by the in-the-know locals. Even more enticing are the grape varieties of Switzerland and the Valle d’Aosta, grapes like Petite Arvine, Amigne, Cornalin, and Humagne Rouge, grapes that grow almost nowhere else on earth and produce wines of such character and quality that one can only assume that they are made by elves in the Alpen highlands. If you are looking for something new in your repertoire of vinous enjoyment, you need look no further, for individuality in expression is the calling card of these wines, and in true Swiss fashion the quality is supreme.

There are only 15, 000 hectares (approximatley 37,065.8 acres) of vineyards in Switzerland, and they lie on steep, hard to work slopes, rising high into the alps. The same is true across the border in the Valle d’Aosta in Italy, where the vineyards are often in the shade of Mount Blanc. There is evidence that wine has been made in these valleys since the Roman times, with some of the earliest evidence of wine-making coming from 150 BC. This land is truly one of the most over-looked areas for fine wine, and one with as rich a history as any other in Europe. This dinner will offer wines of soul and spirit that reflect this history, and will make us reevaluate our perception of wine and its limits.

In the Valais over-looking some of the Cave Caloz parcels. The pictures are courtesy of my friend Liz Dowty, who was visiting Switzerland last month.

The wine we will be enjoying:

Cave Caloz, Petite Arvine, La Mourziere, Valais AOC, Switzerland, 2012

Gros Jean, Petite Arvine, Vigne Rovettaz, Valle d’Aosta, Italy, 2012

Serge Roh, Amigne de Vetroz, Demi-sec, Grand Cru, Switzerland, 2010

Cave Caloz, Cornalin, Les Bernunes, Valais AOC, Switzerland, 2012

The dinner will be a three course affair, with a short reception to begin with starting at 5:30 at The Fearrington Granary. Chef Colin has put together an AMAZING menu to enhance the wines.