Founded in 1982, Gantenbein is widely considered to be one of the best wine estates in Switzerland. It is located in the Graubunden (Grisons) district of the upper Rhine valley in eastern Switzerland, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth. Not far from here, high up in the Alps, the Rhine begins its long journey to the Atlantic. At the foot of the Alps, in the small village of Flasch, is the gravity-flow winery of Daniel and Martha Gantenbein; a marvel of design simplicity, ingenuity and mechanical precision. Daniel and Martha 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 scree slopes of the northern Alps. Most of the vineyards (about 12.5 acres) are planted densely with Pinot Noir clones from Burgundy. The rest is planted with Chardonnay, as well as a tiny parcel of Riesling, planted with vines sourced from the Mosel. Gantenbein Pinot Noir is carefully harvested by hand and fermented in custom-built, open-top wood fermenters, typically with 20% whole clusters. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. The wines are bottled after 12 to 14 months in barrique, without filtration or fining. Even in a good vintage, the yields are quite low – only about 1.5 tons per acre, for an average production of about 1,200 cases of Pinot Noir and about 200 cases of a fine, mineral-focused Chardonnay.
Martha and Daniel’s Gantenbein Pinot Noir 2018 offers a delicate, ripe and toasty bouquet of red fruits. Silky, fresh and pure on the palate, this is a full-bodied, intense and juicy Pinot Noir with fine tannins, gorgeous freshness and salinity on the finish. The tannins are silky, fresh, firm, really stimulating and cleansing. This 2015 is still terribly young but has tension, grip and a stunning kick. Excellent aging potential.
Wine Advocate – 93 points.