The tasting at Mondial du Chasselas has affirmed that vintage 2011 is one of the best years for Chasselas (Fendant/Gutedel in German) from Vaud, Switzerland. Especially so for those who adore fresh, dry wine (like me).
After indulging in an amazing selection of winning bottles from the blancs secs (dry white) category, we were welcomed by an aged Chassela of Chateau Maison Blanche AOC Chablais Yvorne Grand Cru 1998.
What a miracle. A decade of patience and care had tamed the wild flint with peach blossoms. I don't know much about chemistry, but I admire this natural aging process and its prophet. The world of Swiss Chasselas seems deeper than I have ever imagined!
Maison Blanche in Yvorne
Following another invitation from Dr. Craen, the president of the European University and my Swiss wine mentor, I stayed at Auberge de la Couronne in the charming village of Yvorne to visit Château Maison Blanche.
As the morning sun started tenderly caressing the summer green vineyards of Yvorne, I visited its formidable White House - Chateau Maison Blanche. I had to interrupt its vineyard manager, Mr. Jean-Daniel Suardet, from trimming the grapevines, but he welcomed me with a big, soft smile.
In front of the historic wooden doors, Mr. Suardet calmly told me about the devastating landslide that swallowed the first castle (built in 1573) along with the Old Town of Yvorne on March 4th in 1584.
While the wounded survivors re-established the village to the South East, it took until 1609 before the castle was rebuilt on the same location. More than 400 years later, the soil enriched with a mineral base offers a unique ground for his grapes, said Mr. Suardet.
Time for Tasting
When Mr. Suardet offered his incredible production from 2011 for the tasting, my Swatch aimed precisely 10 AM. "It's got to be 5 o'clock somewhere...," I told myself, closing my eyes to let my nose indulge the hint of pear and cassis flavor of his Château Maison Blanche blanc Grand Cru Yvorne AOC Chablais 2011.
Mesmerized by the magic of nature and human perseverance, I enjoyed the sweetness of grapes slowly embracing my mouth. And there, that taste of flint again! With a soft nod, Mr. Suardet endorsed that this wine is embodied by the caraculs soil from the 1584's landslide. Again, a perfect toast for a summer wedding (I thought of my newly engaged friends).
Actually, Château Maison Blanche offers eight reception rooms, with a capacity for 250 guests - ideal for a romantic wedding and first class events. Indeed, the 400 years old castle stood gracefully at the heart of a blessed vineyard.