2013CalozBernunes2013 Cave Anne-Carole et Conrad Caloz, Cornalin, du Lieu-Dit Les Bernunes, A.O.C. Valais, Switzerland.
The 2013 Cave Caloz Cornalin du Lieu-Dit Les Bernunes is a stunning wine with beautiful color, perfume, soft tannins, elegant acidity and wonderfully layered flavors that are stylish and complex, Caloz is fast becoming one of my favorite wineries. As an extra bonus, I was able to sit down with famed importer Neal Rosenthal and discuss many new and old topics, relating to his passions for authentic and honest wines, to his understanding of terroir and of his personal joy in the human traditions, old cellars and difficult vintages. Sometimes you feel an East Coast v West Coast tinge to these types of conversations, as places like New York feel like they own expertise on old world wines, but Neal was full of praise of Kermit Lynch our West Coast old world importer and in fact Rosenthal had wonderful things to say about certain California wines, though of course he was and still is all about ancient cobweb filled, moldy cellars in Europe, in fact he claim part of his view of terroir is a cellars influence on the wine. I am really glad I had the opportunity to meet Rosenthal and take in all his ideas, but I was especially grateful to taste this new Cave Caloz Cornalin, which he imports, from steep vines in Valais Switzerland where the family Caloz, Anne-Carole, Conrad (King of the Mountain) and Sandrine farm a small estate and make some of the greatest Swiss wine. Cornalin is a native varietal, almost exclusive to Valais, it makes for a gorgeous wine in Caloz hands, the 2013 is a vibrant and elegant example with detailed floral tones with hints of violets, dried roses and spring flowers, a ruby hue in the glass, mineral tones, spicy notes and a medium weighted body with expressive dark fruits, black currant, plum, red peach, tangy cherry, blueberry, cranberry and fittingly mountain berry along with a hint of red pepper, minty herbs, saline and a stony/gravel element. At 13% this is a balanced and vibrant wine that is plenty rich and interesting, it is unfiltered and is as pure as the alpine air. Caloz is the real deal, this is a graceful and alluring wine, and you should look for it, even with a horrible exchange rate with the Swiss Franc, these are intriguing and noble efforts. Drink the Cornalin over the next 3 to 5 years, it is super impressive, they also grow some Cabernet Franc, Syrah and a Pinot hybrid as well as make a dry white wine, plus a barrique aged Cornalin, all of which merit attention. That all said, the Les Bernunes version is delightful, playful and extremely joyous in the glass, drinking somewhere between a fine Burgundy and St. Joseph, with a style that reminds me of Jean Foillard’s Morgon, drink this excellent Swiss red between 2015 and 2023.
($52 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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