Domaine de Beudon
Domaine de Beudon
The vines at Domaine Beudon are perched on a small swell half way up a sheer mountainside in the Valais region of Switzerland. The only way to access the domaine is a 3 hour walk up an absurdly precarious footpath with fixed ropes or a small, rustic cable car. The vineyard sites are very steep, up to 50 degrees in spots and they top out at 900 meters above sea level. This is extreme grape growing at its apex.
Jacques (Jacky) Granges often repeats that people think he is crazy. He was crazy to move up here as a single young man in the early 70’s. Crazy to convert the estate to Biodynamics long before it was hip – he was the first in Switzerland. Crazy to grow the grapes he grows and to make the wines he makes. But after tasting the wines of Domaine Beudon, it is clear that Jacky Granges is simply one more great man whose genius has been dubbed crazy by those who do not understand him.
There is no wood used on any of the wines. Vinification and aging take place in stainless steel and via indigenous yeasts. The whites are pressed up on the mountain and the juice is brought down to the valley floor for fermentation. The reds are put in tanks and the entire tanks are brought down on cables for fermentation.
The young wines here are powerful, exuberant and completely unique. The aged wines are long, expressive, wise and characterful. There is something special in these wines and in this place. The afternoon we spent up on the mountain with Jacky and Marion exists in my mind like an afternoon through the wardrobe – outside of time and place. We left with the next visit already in our minds.
Which makes the end note here all the more sorrowful. A few weeks after our visit, we received news that Jacky had passed away. He seemed immortal up there in his vineyards in the sky. His wife and daughters plan to carry on and we will do our best to keep his spirit alive by sharing these amazing wines.
Domaine de Beudon "Constellation" Valais Rouge 2007
Super complex aromatics here..moss, hot smoke, lingonberry jam. Medium bodied and tensile, but with a bit of grip on the finish.
Domaine de Beudon "Diolinoir" Valais Rouge 2013
Unique to Switzerland is Diolinoir, a cross between rouge de diolly and pinot noir. Dark fruited and reminiscent of mondeuse, Domaine de Beudon’s example maintains a touch of smoky mineral and iron notes as well.
Domaine de Beudon "Dôle Vieilles Vignes" Valais Rouge 2013
Dôle refers to a classic style of red wine composed of pinot noir and (generally) gamay produced in the Valais. Dense in color, and highlighted by blocky aromatics, this engaging red delivers both energy and substance.
Domaine de Beudon "Schiller" Valais Rosé 2009
A blend of pinot noir, gamay and fendant, co-macerated and then vinified together. Nuances of herb grass, moss, dark berries and caramel.
Domaine de Beudon Petite Arvine Valais 2014
Petite Arvine, or Arvine for short, is considered the white gem of the Valais. And while bright, and intriguing, it also possesses a mid-palate richness falling somewhere between viognier and riesling.
Domaine de Beudon Fendant Valais 2004
Chasselas, as it is more famously known, goes by the name of Fendant in the Valais. Bright, and intriguing, and with a touch less sappy character than perhaps many a younger release of the variety.
Domaine de Beudon Riesling x Sylvaner Valais 2005
Müller-Thurgau, as it is more famously known, goes by the more literal name of Riesling x Sylvaner in the Valais. Quietly energetic, and reminiscent of an elegantly aged riesling.