With only one week to go until our Artisan Wine Fair, we are beginning to get excited. Especially as we now have it confirmed that the Scottish winemaker, Jamie McCulloch, who produces the fantastic ‘Les Deux Cimes’ portfolio of wines from his winery in Switzerland, will be there, too; he’ll be showcasing his full range and very happy to talk about them. You might have even tried them before, if you’ve been to The Wee Restaurant?
Originally from Edinburgh, Jamie moved to Switzerland in 2007 to set up his winery, which was only one year after he’d completed his oenology studies…a brave move! His connection with Switzerland began on meeting his future-wife when she was visiting Scotland. Having spent his twenties rather unsure about exactly what direction he wanted his life to move in, he was on a trip to visit her in Switzerland when he saw the sign for Changins, a school for oenology, and the possibilities started emerging. Scotland wasn’t going to provide him with the opportunities to put his studies into practice (that’s for sure), so he knew a move was inevitable. Having studied in the country, he understood the potential in the terroir of those steep, south-facing slopes of the Alpine region of Valais and decided to take the leap of faith in buying the vineyard.
Whilst Swiss wines are not something that we see much of in the UK due to the tiny amount that’s exported – only about 2% of the overall production – the quality of their wines is continuing to rise dramatically. Generally speaking, the wine scene in Switzerland is populated by small, independent wineries, which means that they are all producing a more artisanal product: the antithesis of the generic, mass-produced styles from more internationally recognised wine regions.
Since starting his winery, he has been experimenting with some classic international grape varieties (Pinot Noir, Gamay and Syrah), but he has also used some regional grapes, such as Fendant, which also goes by the name Chasselas. It’s a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc because it’s fresh and zesty, but its point of difference is that it’s fleshy with juicy yellow plum characters and a herbal, savoury finish.
At our Artisan Wine Fair, on Saturday 20th May, Jamie will be there all afternoon to share with you his love of winemaking and the work that goes into creating such quality wines. It’s certainly more than just a job!