Clos du Brûle-Fer Johannisberg AOC Valais 2013
In Valais Johannisberg is the second most widely planted white grape variety after Chasselas. It is also known as Sylvaner and Rhin in the French speaking part of Valais and Grüner Silvaner, in the German speaking part. Its origins however are somewhat of a mystery. Some say it originates from Alsace, others say Austria and others Germany.
It’s rather like a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. There are definitely the discreet petrol type aromas typical of Riesling, and the herbaceous vegetable, (asparagus and broad beans to be more precise) Sauvignon Blanc type scents present. Careful though, too much asparagus can be a wine fault!
If you are wondering what makes the wine smell like asparagus it often comes from Pyrazines , they are organic compounds in the grapes. When the grapes ripen the Pyrazines decrease. So if you pick your grapes early you may come across an asparagus like nose.
Nose – Grilled toast, citrus fruits, green vegetables and biscuit mixture.
Palate – A rich and luscious fulfilling savour. Good lengthy after taste and just the right amount of acidity.
Food match – With all the greeny aromas what could be a better match – asparagus! But save this match for when it’s asparagus season in the spring. For autumn, the ideal dish is Papette Vaudois – a dish comprising leeks and potatoes with a pork and cabbage sausage. This dish has been around for more than 1000 years and was concocted in Orbe. Legend has it that one day when a prestigious king was passing through the small town there was not enough meat to feed him and his cortege so the townsfolk stuffed cabbage into the sausage hoping it would go unnoticed. The king adored it and it became a renowned local speciality.
Mood match – Cosy at home with your favourite friend after a brisk walk in the fresh autumn air accompanied by a Mozart concerto tinkering away in the background.
Tip – How to memorize the aromas. When smelling a wine you may find hundreds of different aromas – or nothing at all, or you may not to be able to describe the scents you can detect. When you can decipher a particular smell, try to memorize it by associating it with a person, place or experience, something to help you remember, so that the next time you come across that same aroma you will know exactly what it is. For example you can easily imagine freshly cut grass, or freshly baked bread (common ones found in wine). Give those smells an association, preferably something real that you have actually experienced, then wow, they will jump out of the glass the next time you find them. We can smell over 2000 different types of aromas. Hundreds can be detected in wine, some are considered good, whereas others can be associated with a fault in the wine. But if the aromas that you find please you, then that is what counts and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
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Nina Bobillier is a wine reviewer and guide. email@example.com