Imagine a blind tasting of top-notch wines of the world with journalists and Master of Wine’s sitting in a cosy room at Widder Hotel in Zurich. Two weeks ago, the organizer of this great event Valais Mundi launched their Electus 2013 and showed that they have the confidence to put their wine within big brands such as Opus One, Château Angelus, Ornellaia. (see the full list below // all over 100 CHF except Alion). For those who are not familiar, Valais Mundi is the premium line of Provins, which is known to be the largest producer of Switzerland based in Valais. Their CEO Raphaël Garcia was personally there together with their Product & Brand Manager Johanna Dayer.
I was quite excited as I think blind tasting is an honest way to practice benchmarking. First of all, it reveals the favorites of professionals without any prejudgment. Secondly, it shows the incredible potential of lesser-known wine regions on international wine scene. I find this particularly important because I’ve observed many people criticizing wines of these regions for being far too expensive. People in Europe rarely pay a premium price for a Georgian or Turkish wine. Even in Switzerland – where Swiss are really proud of their own wine – locals tend to buy a bottle from Bordeaux or Tuscany if it’s over 100 €. This simply reveals that pricing is not only determined by quality, but also affected by the fame of territorial origin, branding and more. I understand this easily, but I feel deeply sad when I meet wine consumers, strictly rejecting the possibility of an outstanding quality unless it comes from a famous wine region they admire. This is why I really enjoy these blind tastings. If nothing, it proves the quality that people cannot deny in the end. It might even change their mind to be more open and adventurous to try new things.
Among eleven wines, Electus 2013 was my third favorite. As Johanna explained later on during the tasting, the wine is made of grapes from a selection of different parcels with soil content of granite, clay, loess and schist. “Diversity is the key to Valais “says Johanna; “it’s like a mosaic of different grapes” The wine is blend of Cornalin (35%), Humagne Rouge, (28%) Diolinoir (18%), Merlot (9%), Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) and Cabernet Franc (2%) aged in 80% new oak barrels for 18 months. The new oak was quite significant on the palate but well integrated. It showed high intensity of black cherries, plums, hints of spices with a powerful structure. Its high concentration led to a long lingering finish giving hints to its potential to age.
The wine stood out among the whole selection. Raphaël and Johanna seemed to enjoy the tasting with us, as the most important thing was to hear different kinds of comments. Although the nature of the event was quite ambitious, it ended up being an open discussion with lots of fun!
(Sassicaia 2013 – Tuscany, Pape Clément 2013 – Pessac-Leognan, Ornellaia 2013 – Tuscany, E. Giugal 2013 – Cote Rotie La Mouline, Solaia 2013 – Tuscany, Château Pontet-Canet 2013 – Pauillac, Electus 2013 – Valais, Opus One 2013 – California, Château Baron de Pichon- Longueville 2013 – Pauillac,Château Angelus 2013 – Saint- Emilion, Alion 2013 – Ribero del Duero)