The charismatic couple Martha and Daniel Gantenbein started cultivating Pinot Noir in the village of Fläsch, canton Graubünden, in 1982. Surrounded by the alps and benefiting from the foehn winds they soon changed their Swiss Blauburgunder clones into Pinot clones and cuttings from Burgundy.
From the today's 5 hectares of Pinot the couple produces just one single wine: the blue labeled Gantenbein Pinot Noir. It is one of the rare Swiss Pinots that is available world wide. Always smoky on the nose but precise, fresh, firm and persistent on the palate, this complex yet refined red is surely one of the finest Pinots from German speaking countries and one of the real "Burgundian" Swiss Pinots which can often be quite rich, sweet and jammy. The unfiltered Gantenbein Pinot Noir reaches it full potential only 3 or 4 years after the harvest but keeps this form over several years.
Winemaking: The grapes are picked manually in small boxes. They are de-stemmed though not crushed and only up to 20 per cent remain as whole bunches. 19 open wooden fermenters are chilled down to 10° C. The pre-fermentation at 4° C takes up to 14 days before the temperature is raised again to 13° and fermentation starts. With two or three punch-downs per day this process takes a week or so and the Gantenbeins aim for 32° C towards the end. After the pressing the press wine is directly added to the wine which is racked per gravity into small oak barrels for an aging process of 14 or 15 months. Malolactic fermentation occurs not earlier than in spring. The barrels from their own Trançais oak are manufactured by Rousseau, François Frères and Chassin. 100 per cent of the oak is renewed every year. Before bottling all barrels are assembled in a large steel vat. The Pinot is bottled unfined and unfiltered and the whole production leaves the estate in between just one week.