Gold Record Alert! The 2011 Charles Bonvin Petite Arvine Noble Cépage is step two in my initiation to Swiss wine. With a name like Bonvin (Good wine) I submit that this wine outshines the humble nature of it’s founder’s name. If you are as uninitiated as I was about Swiss wine, you will be interested to know that the AOC region of Valais, from where this wine comes from is the mountainous region of which the Rhône river originates… then flows into neighbouring France where the famed Rhône Valley produces a wide variety of white and red wines. Although Switzerland’s Valais and France’s Rhône are distinct, you can easily make the argument that some the components that make up your preferred Rhône washed down the river from Valais.
This white wine opens your senses with a plume of perfume, scented with sweet floral notes, citrus and a modicum of green leaf in the background, I would have guessed a fine Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. This wine really takes flight in the mouth: full essence of citrus wrapped in those floral components from the nose. When I say essence of citrus, I mean bergamot that would make Earl Grey turn red with jealousy. And that essence follows through with a mouthfeel you would get from a dessert wine, but applied to an off-dry level of sweetness. I really like this wine. I am thinking with of cooking up some buttery cod with a fresh tomato salsa.
On the acid front, it was not packed, but it certainly can be considered fresh. I really like this Charles Bonvin Petite Arvine, but it is not cheap. It sells for 34$ in Quebec, so look for it around 20-25$ in areas where taxes are more reasonable. I went out and purchased a bottle for my cellar after trying it a Swiss wine show here in Montreal, and I rarely spend over 30$ on a bottle, let alone a white wine.
Musical Match: the Charles Bonvin Petite Arvine is not a speedy gulper, it’s large and gentle mouthfeel make you want to enjoy it slowly as you take in those beautiful citrus and floral aspects. But, then again it is so good you will want to see the bottom of the bottle thoroughly dried my evening’s end. Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire, capture’s that spirit… simple at times, big at others and always engaging. Beyond that it also has an interesting Classical and Pop dichotomy the fresh and off-dry sugar level.
Gold Record material, without any doubt.