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Domaine Delalex Marin "Clos du Pont" Vin de Savoie '16
One reason that it’s rare to find the white wines of Savoie on wine lists and at wine shops in the United States is because most of the locals as well as tourists near the beautiful Lac Léman (aka Lake Geneva, on the border between southwestern Switzerland and eastern France) drink it themselves. We are very fortunate to receive Savoie wines from a handful of the top producers, albeit in very small quantities. Among them, the wines of the Delalex family are particularly special. The family owns eight hectares, all in the cru of Marin, on the French side of Lac Léman. The special grape of this region is Chasselas, and this estate’s vines range from 10 to 70 years in age, facing either southwest or directly south.
This single-vineyard Chasselas wine is from a steep and stony site, with the vines planted in soils of glacial moraine. Clos du Pont is a warm and sunny site, protected from the bise, a cold, dry wind in Switzerland that blows from the northeast to the southwest. The transparency of the Chasselas grape helps it expresses the density and structure of the site very clearly.
After a manual harvest, the grapes are destemmed and fermented to complete dryness with native yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged on the lees for nine months to develop the aromatics. Delalex is unique among many of its neighbors in that its wines do not go through malolactic fermentation, which results in laser-beam-like acidity. After bottling, the wine is held for a minimum of one year at the winery before release. A long aging before release is customary for exceptional Savoie white wines.
The Delalex Marin shows aromas of stone fruit and flowers, and is bright and focused on the palate, with a stony minerality and a bit of softness gained from bottle age. It would be perfect with lemony shrimp or roasted fish and an herb-inflected pilaf, or a simple snack of marcona almonds and alpine cheese.
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