Friends of Ernie: Weingut Gantenbein

This month we’re featuring winemakers from our “Friends of Ernie” portfolio. If you’re in the trade, you can meet these fascinating winemakers at our special tour of trade tastings March 1-4 in Boston, NYC, Chicago or SFO. See our trade tastings blog post for more info.

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WEINGUT GANTENBEIN: STUNNING PINOT NOIR FROM A TOP SWISS DOMAIN

To say that Weingut Gantenbein is lovely would be an understatement of the highest degree. The vineyards are located in the Graubünden district of the upper Rhine valley in eastern Switzerland, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth. Not far from here, the Rhine begins its long journey high up in the Alps. Closer to the foothills is the winery; a marvel of design ingenuity and mechanical precision, its turned bricks catch the light just so to form gleaming grape-cluster mirages.

Gantenbein is widely considered to be one of the best domains in Switzerland. Daniel and Marta Gantenbein do all of the vineyard and cellar work themselves, by hand. Together, they farm six hectares (15 acres) of vineyards, about 500 meters above sea level on the slopes at the base of the Alps. Most of the vineyards (about 12.5 acres) are planted densely with Pinot Noir clones from Burgundy.

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Daniel and Marta ferment their Pinot Noir in custom-built, open-top wood fermenters. Malolactic fermentation takes place in standard barriques. The wines are bottled after 12 to 14 months in barrique, without filtration or fining. In a good vintage, the yields are quite low — only about 1.5 tons per acre. That translates to an average production of about 1,000 cases, of which only 25 cases will come to the United States.

GANTENBEIN PINOT NOIR

One reviewer writes: “Gantenbein makes small batch handcrafted smoky Pinot Noir of incredible quality. Only around 180 bottles make it into the U.S. Consider yourself an insider to even hear about this wine and “lottery-winning lucky” to get your hands on a bottle.”

Another writes: “hard to buy…but highly recommended if you want to taste Switzerland’s Romanee Conti.”

HOW TO TRY THIS WONDERFUL WINE

Gantenbein Pinot Noir is available as part of Loosen Bros. “Friends of Ernie” portfolio. If you’re in the trade contact us or your distributor to acquire it. If you’re not in the trade, be sure to ask your favorite wine seller or sommelier for it!