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eichholtz in the walserhof…

It’s not every day that you go to eat eat at the Hotel Walserhof in Klosters; we did it one time before, perhaps seven or eight years ago, and it was everything that you might expect of a ‘renowned table’ in Switzerland; efficiently serviced, tasty food but it wasn’t really ‘inviting’.

Yesterday we were in the Walserhof once more and the service team is currently in transition to new managers from Bad Ragaz – but what a difference. Still, the food is very, very good, but yesterday it had a cosy charm about it – it invites you to return – very nice!

I was lucky to tag onto a group who were to have a ‘degustations menu’ pared with the wines of a local domaine from just down the valley in Jenins – Weingut Eichholz. Irene Grünenfelder is the ‘one-woman-domaine’ and she was on hand to chat about her wines.

  • Crémant. I didn’t note if it was ‘vintaged’ or not, but this was a medium gold with lovely aromas – made from a classic Pinot noir / Chardonnay blend – I found it a touch sweet for my taste at the core but it was a good apéritif.
  • 2010 Chardonnay. Elevaged in 400l barrels, this is made from very young vines – only 4 years old. The nose was buttressed by some sweet oak notes to fill out the clean chardonnay aroma – but swirl and the oak fades quickly. A nice lithe wine showing little of its oak on the palate though the finish is relatively quick – then, surprise, a subtle reprise of flavour – chapeau!
  • 2011 Pinot Noir. Here the elevage was in 1,600l wooden tanks. The aromas were pure pinot with a hint of underripe. In the mouth this was delicate, balanced and reasonably tasty with just a hint of bitter flavour to reflect the nose in the finish – definitely drinkable.
  • 2010 Eichholz Pinot Noir.. From a single plot of vines, elevaged in standard 228 litre barrels. The nose starts with a waft of oaky reduction and something a little dirtier – sulfites – but a little aeration clears it up perfectly. And what a surprise, a subtle stem aroma that treads the line between strawberry compote and roses – lovely! I asked, and up to 20% whole clusters might be used in the fermentation. This wine is deeper coloured than the previous one and has a fine texture and the fruit has a full ripeness. A lovely wine that could easily come from another place – lovely! (And Irene thinks her 2011 will be even better!)
  • A ‘Port-style’ wine. Made from an old Swiss variety (whose name 12 hours later I’ve already forgotten!). Very drinkable indeed – not just a curio, it’s a super wine!

One response to “eichholtz in the walserhof…”

  1. Gilberto

    Bill, nice to read your comments on Irene Grünenfelder’s wines.
    Her Cremant is “vintaged”: her first vintage was 2010 and was pure Pinot Noir, so I guess yours was a 2011 (which is PN + Chardonnay). I am glad to read that you liked the Chardonnay: the bottle I opened a few months ago was very strongly reduced and only after a long time in the glass would the reduction dissipate. Your comments increase my hopes for the other bottles I have.
    I haven’t tried her Eichholz 2010 yet, but the 2011 I tasted last September when visiting her was really very promising (too bad that she increased the price though!).

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