Fläscher Pinot Noir Alte Reben 2020 – Weingut Adank.
Swiss Pinot Noirs are a rare gem, primarily due to the limited vineyard size in the country, and to the emphasis placed by wineries on quality over quantity. Switzerland, known for excelling in craftsmanship, ensures that the Pinot Noirs, when found, are nothing short of exceptional.
In the past two decades the region of Graubünden has ascended to the pinnacle of the country’s Pinot Noir scene. Among its gems, the village of Fläsch shines even brighter. In this idyllic village lies Weingut Hansruedi Adank, a winery cultivating no more than six hectares. With an annual production of about 36,000 bottles only a third finds the export market, resulting in wines that are hard to find but easy to love. In this review we discuss their 2020 Alte Reben Pinot Noir, a recent discovery that exemplifies their dedication to excellence.
About the Winery
The winery, with just six hectares of vineyards, grew out of a farm. In the past they produced crops, vegetables, milk and grapes which they sold to local cooperatives. Hansruedi Adank laid the foundation for the conversion of the mixed-use business into a winery in 1984. The cellar of the property was equipped for winemaking and Hansruedi processed some of the grapes himself. Since 1988, the entire yield has been pressed in-house and marketed as bottled wine.
Rezia and Hansruedi Adank are responsible for the meticulous care of the vines and the establishment of the winery. Their wealth of experience is vast, deeply rooted in understanding the unique intricacies of the Fläsch terroir. Early on, they embraced various Pinot selections, demonstrating a thirst for knowledge, cosmopolitanism, and a keen interest in exchanging ideas with both local and international producers.
The fruition of their appreciation for tradition and innovation is evident in the production of top-quality Pinots from single vineyards. Their son, Patrick, a rising star among Switzerland’s winemakers, has assumed the role of winemaker for the family. Trained in oenology in Geisenheim (Germany) and Dijon (France), Patrick honed his skills through internships in renowned wine regions, including Burgundy, New Zealand, and Champagne. Joining the family business in 2018, Patrick has been a vital source of inspiration, seamlessly adapting his acquired ideas and concepts to the Fläsch terroir. His clear goal is evident: crafting wines that are profound, elegant, complex, and possess remarkable aging potential.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Patrick Adank was honored with the title of “2020 Rookie Winemaker of the Year” by Gault&Millau.
About the Region
Understanding the quality of wines in Graubünden is unique, as unlike Burgundy, it lacks a location classification system. Traditionally, local wine growers followed a quality pyramid, with the journey often starting from local wines and ascending to those aged in barriques. However, the Adanks prioritize the delicacy of the terroir, steering away from defining their top-tier wines based on the proportion of new barriques. Their focal point is the Fläscher Berg, the elevated site housing their vineyards.
The soils, abundant in lime and occasionally enriched with clay and loam, characterize the wines with warmth and permeability due to the slate-rich terrain. The microclimate of Fläsch further elevates its terroir, with deep blue autumn skies over the Bündner Machtum and a silky air, courtesy of the foehn winds from the Alpine Rhine regions. These winds dry the grapes, adding the final touch to berry ripeness. Daytime warmth is followed by cool downdrafts from the Fläscher Berg in the evening, ensuring a balanced acidity.
Fläscher Pinot Noir, known for its robust character, features exceptionally concise fruit notes. The mineral nuances are derived from the terroir’s highly activated lime. However, deep-rooted vines are essential to access nutrients, minerals, and water reserves, adding depth and complexity to these exceptional wines.
About the Wine
The distinguished Pinot Noir “Alte Reben” is a meticulous selection from Fläscher Halde’s premier vineyards, featuring vines aged 40-50 years. Sourced predominantly from Swiss vineyards rather than Burgundy, the Adank family prioritizes finesse over wood utilization, breaking away from the conventional emphasis on new wood for quality. Aging occurs in 500 and 1500-liter wooden barrels, along with 3 and 4-year-old barriques, allowing the wine to express the strength of old vines and the exceptional terroir.
This Pinot Noir presents a radiant cherry-red hue. The aromatic profile is enriched with subtle gunpowder undertones, harmonizing with peppery and spicy accents, alongside a prominent essence of ripe berries and cherries. The palate offers a pure fruit experience, with seamlessly integrated acidity and fine-grained tannins that provide robustness in its structure. Its elegance is coupled with straightforwardness.
With a moderate 12.8% ABV this Pinot Noir stands as a delightful middleweight. Crafted from old vines, it unfolds a delicate and elegant character, gaining both depth and refinement. Further aging will undoubtedly enhance its intricacies, making it a wine poised for continued development within the next 5-8 years.
We award this Swiss beauty with a 92-point DWA score.
Taste date: January 2024
Score: 92/100 DWA Score
Website: Weingut Adank