Serge Roh-Cave Les Ruinettes

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The Roh family has its origins in Alsace having crossed the mountains into the Swiss Valais during the 17th century. They settled in the town of Conthey which eventually in 1862 was split into two communes: Conthey and its neighbor, Vétroz. It is in the latter village that the Roh family and its cave are located, essentially in the heart of the Valais.

Serge Roh’s father, Marc, began to vinify the grapes from his own vineyard parcels in 1950 and progressively added additional plots of land over the years. The domaine now encompasses ten hectare of vineyards. Serge joined his father in 1984 after having studied at the cantonal school of agriculture and at the prestigious school of oenology at Changins. Serge Roh took complete responsibility for the domaine, known as the Cave Les Ruinettes, in 1999. His wife, Patricia, works by his side handling all the administrative tasks for this distinctly family affair.

The Roh family has assembled an impressive selection of vineyards and cepages, almost all of which are situated within the confines of Vétroz and Conthey. Their ten hectares include four white and five red grape varieties which allows them to offer one of the most complete lineups of traditional wines of the Valais and which are particularly representative of the Vetroz appellation. The white grapes are planted on the steep hillsides, most of which are formed into terraces, with a full south exposure. The soil is composed of schist and glacial moraine. All work is done by hand since the extreme slopes of this magnificent valley do not permit any mechanization. The red grapes are cultivated in a zone slightly lower in altitude where the soil is infused with round stones known as “galets” which have been rent smooth by years of alluvial action. The bulk of the vineyards are quite old, with the average age of the vines being 35 years (as of 2011).

SERGE-ROH-VETROS Vetroz Grand Cru (Fendant): This wine comes from an ancient strain of Fendant (also known as Chasselas) which produces this intensely mineral wine marked by a gunflint (“pierre-a-fusil”) character and precise focus. No destemming and a soft pressing help preserve the true character of the fruit. Because of its consistently high quality, Roh declares this as one of the Grand Cru bottlings of the Cave des Ruinettes. Roh’s Fendant is vinified without barrel aging and the wine does undergo a malolactic fermentation to provide additional roundness to the texture.
SERGE-ROH-PETITE-ARVINE Petite Arvine de Vetroz: Citrus notes (grapefruit zest) characterize this very dry and full-bodied white wine which carries a persistent acidity and elegant fruit. The Petite Arvine is an ancient local grape, introduced by the Romans, that is found in the Valais and also on the other side of the Alpine mountains in the Valle d’Aosta of Italy. It is obviously a grape that flourishes in the high altitude zones of the Alps.
SERGE-ROH-PETITE-ARVINE Amigne Grand Cru de Vetroz Amigne: is the signature grape of the village of Vétroz, the source of 90% of the world’s production of wines from this rare and very special variety. Serge Roh’s Cave Les Ruinettes owns a single hectare plot, the vines of which are sixty years old (as of 2011). Roh produces a seductive version, often in a demi-sec style. Far from “sweet”, the wine is supported by 6.5g per liter of acidity, bringing balance to a bottle that has a lot to say about this compelling varietal. Roh describes his Amigne as expressing notes of mandarin orange, lime blossom and spice with a silky texture and a hint of noble tannin … most definitely a wine to age.

Ermitage de Vetroz Fletri: In the Valais, the weather conditions are such that, with the persistently dry, sunny late season climate, the vigneron has the option of leaving certain grapes, in this instance, the Ermitage (also known as Marsanne) on the vine for late harvest. In fact, in certain vintages, the grapes for this wine are harvested as late as January of the following year. “Fletri” refers to the raisining of the grapes on the vine. Obviously, this is a very limited production affair which Roh normally bottles in 500ml size.

Roh-Pinot-Noir-GC Pinot Noir de Vetroz Grand Cru: This “mountain Pinot” is a graceful expression of this noble grape. It has an alpine precision with the normally bright berry fruit being married to the heady notes of the pine forest. The wines carries a well-balanced acidity and gentle tannins. It is vinified in stainless steel to preserve the mountain freshness and is a wine of exceptional finesse.
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