Cave Caloz, Coteaux de Sierre Gamay “La Mourziere”
Cave Caloz, Coteaux de Sierre Gamay “La Mourziere”

Cave Caloz, Coteaux de Sierre Gamay “La Mourziere”

Val Valais, Switzerland 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

Cave Caloz, Coteaux de Sierre Gamay “La Mourziere”

Cave Caloz’s “La Mourziere” makes one thing very clear: Gamay from Switzerland’s Valais region can be as delicious and as profound as any of Beaujolais’ top bottlings. Just be sure to grab what you can while you can because, as is the case with all great Swiss wines, barely a trickle of “La Mourziere” makes it stateside. Indeed, the Swiss export less than 2% of their production, and most of that goes to Europe. So we consider ourselves lucky that we get to offer a benchmark bottle from one of Switzerland’s most important winemaking families—pioneers in both organic Valais viticulture and hands-off winemaking. This is a single-bottle peek into a special place worked by incredible people, exhibiting a Burgundian dance of grace and power, aromatic lift, and granitic energy. If you, like us, fall hard for light-bodied reds from Pinot to Poulsard, or if you’re a vinous explorer seeking seeking to uncover every hidden gem, “La Mourziere” is a bottle you’ll want to go deep on!

The Valais is one of the places, a spot like Côte-Rôtie or Ribeira Sacra, that you take one look at and just know great wine is made there. This is Switzerland’s biggest wine region, but context is important—at roughly the same acreage as the Côte d’Or, the Valais is still miniscule. Vineyards in the Valais’ subregion of Sierre, where the Caloz family farms, perch precariously at the base of the Swiss Alps and overlook the Rhône River (yes, the same one). A near-constant wind locals call the fohn keeps the microclimate unusually warm and dry for these northern latitudes. This is a hard place to work; the best vineyards are terraced on an almost 90% slope, making work by machine all but impossible. “La Mourziere” is one such site, where the Caloz family’s Gamay is planted alongside Chasselas and Sylvaner, atop limestone-rich soil.

The Caloz winery was founded in 1960 by Fernand Caloz, who built the family’s home and cellar in the village of Miege. He began the arduous stewardship of their vineyards, and his son Conrad and daughter-in-law Anne-Carole carried on the work. Now joined by their daughter Sandrine, Conrad and Anne-Carole are recognized by their neighbors and colleagues as leaders in the organic movement. They started farming organically in the 1990s, becoming certified for all of their vineyards in 2017. In 2019 they were voted “Best Organic Winery” by BioSuisse, a body of over 7,500 organic farmers of all crops, not just grapes. 

The Caloz family’s respectful approach continues in the cellar, where fermentations take place spontaneously and sulfur is typically the only addition to a wine. Their Gamay “La Mourziere” was entirely destemmed—forgoing the carbonic maceration typical of Beaujolais interpretations of the variety – and fermented and aged in stainless steel. It pours a translucent ruby with copper hints, its pale color a preview of the panoply of light red fruit flavors to come: crystal clear ripe strawberry, red raspberry, and sour cherry pit, followed by white pepper, baking spices, and granitic minerality. The palate is juicy, light, frictionless, with barely-there tannins and incredible depth of luscious strawberry fruit. The wine is both vivacious and deep, and refreshingly light-bodied, the sort of thing you could chill and sip on its own, or cook a meal around. Fair warning, though; it’s been almost a year since we’ve been able to offer anything at all from Switzerland, so get Caloz’s Gamay “La Mourziere” while you can!

Cave Caloz, Coteaux de Sierre Gamay “La Mourziere”

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