Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews, Winery > Swiss Mandement “Caves Ouvertes” Day a Winner

Swiss Mandement “Caves Ouvertes” Day a Winner

The May 28, 2011 Swiss Mandement Open House Day , or “Caves Ouvertes” was fantastic. It was definitely a local affair in these ancient wine villages with people hovering about the stone “mas” or farmhouses, clustering around barrels or small tables in the makeshift tasting/bottling rooms and spilling out into the streets. Not checking any sources, I went straight for the town with my favorite vineyard walks and restaurant, Auberge d’Dardagny in—of course—Dardagny.

Looking down the main street of the village of Dardagny.

Now, I can’t really do this whole experience justice. In fact, I am trying to get ready for a trip to Florence, Italy in a couple days. So, I will just have to write a few quick notes and I’ll finish it off in a couple weeks after we get back from bella Italia. I have a lot of notes.

"Le Mandement"--the Swiss villages of Satigny, Russin, Dardagny and the many communes enclosed within.

Vines in Dardagny

Fancy chefs serving up some scrumptious sausages.

Other than the fact that the surroundings are beautiful vineyards and lush meadows, the calm, enthusiastic nature of the crowd was very pleasant. No, this was not the same drunken rambunctious crowd of the autumn harvest festival in neighboring Russin. There was the odd “oompa loompa” band here and there and ever-present at any Swiss fête. There were free shuttles running through the main villages of Satigny, Russin and Dardagny. There were traditional German/Italian/French Swiss food stands: bratwurst, polenta and sausage, Tartiflette. It was like sailing with a cool breeze on a clear sunny Genevois day.

Some of the music entertainment in Dardagny.

Free bus stop "Chasselas" in Dardagny.

Alison with the huge polenta skillet.

My friend Alison, and I went straight for the Domaine du Centaure that I had heard about from another friend. It was actually quite disappointing. In fact, I am not even going to mention any of the wines we tasted. We tried the oldies: Chasselas (watery)  and Gamay (very light) and then the new ones, Gamaret and Pinot Noir. I later found out that I should have tried the dessert wines…but I’ll have to do that another time. So we took a couple steps and went to the Clos du Pins (no website) which turned out to be a little better. Most of the wines were light and pleasant, but no major stars here as well.

Clos des Pins wall display that meets you before anything else. Photo by Alison Ball

The beautiful "mas" or farmhouse of Clos du Pins.

What I really want to write about is Domaine de la Planta. It was truly a wonderful experience and I will go back. The whites were good. First, we tried the Meridienne Blanche (Chasselas) 2010. It was definitely a summer drink but this Chasselas was not the usual watery white. This Chasselas was definitely fresh and fruity and also had some pleasant lemony hints. The Sauvignon Blanc 2010 had hints of apricot flavors and Alison noted, floral scents. I meant to buy a bottle of this, but somehow, I didn’t. Too much going on at the same time. It was also difficult to take photos! The Blanc de Pinot Noir was very buttery and smooth. It was a delight.

Domaine de la Planta Blanc de Pinot Noir 2010.

I liked the reds at this vineyard even more. La Revolution 2009 (Gamay aged in oak), was fine, but the Pinot Noir 2009 (aged in oak) was excellent. It had the smell of an older wine, ever so slightly a hint of mold almost at the first instant and then the deep smell of richness. The taste started kind of tart, but then mellowed to caramel and had a smooth finish. I really enjoyed it.

Domaine de la Planta Pinot Noir 2009 (aged in oak) One of my favorites of the day.

The Gamaret 2010 (aged in metal cask) was good with notes of cinnamon and spice. It was very “rond” but still not that really deep, smooth one I enjoyed, which I actually think was from the Cave de Genève. Surprisingly, the Gamaret 2009 aged in oak was not better. I expected it to have more flavor and to be smoother, but it was spicier and took me by surprise.

Domaine de la Planta "Esprit de Genève" 2009 50% Gamay, 30% Gamaret, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah.

Esprit de Genève actually reminded me of a French côte du Rhône with some allspice notes. I could imagine it chilled slightly and sipped with some morel pâté on a fresh baguette!

It’s also worth mentioning that the vinters here were very charming and so enthusiastic. My friend mentioned that I was writing amateur notes for a blog and one of the vinters spoke to me in perfect English and gave me a chip with photos of the vineyard on it! Look for those in a future post. Also, the owner, Bernard Bosseau was at the cash box and was happy to have a couple snapshots with me. The short story is that the domaine had been in the same family for many generations, but when before the last heir passed away, he chose Bernard, from Nantes, France, who had been making a name for himself in wine circles of the village, to take over the family business. It appears to me that he is doing a fantastic job! Merci beaucoup to Chris the vinter and to Bernard for making such lovely wines.

"Vigneron, tonnelier, vigneron, courtier en vins" --the owner of Domaine de la Planta, Bernard Bosseau. Photo by Alison Ball

Here is where I will have to take a break and get ready to go on the road. When we get back, I’ll introduce you to the other star of Dardagny. I have also found out that I need to go to Satigny as it has the most volume and the oldest history for making wine in Switzerland. If anyone has suggestions for wines in Florence, Italy, please let me know!

  1. Kak
    May 31, 2011 at 12:04 am

    What an enjoyable read! I really really wish I were there. . .it’s so beautiful and the company would be great! Kak

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