A Wine That
is as much about the boundary pushing idea of Mythopia as it is about the deep traditions of farmers in the Valais. Schiller are wines that back in the old days were blended as the wine of the vintage when farmers did not produce wine for selling but rather for drinking themselves. Hans-Peter interprets this simple, yet in our times unconventional concept, by blending Pinot Noir and Fendant into a remarkable translucent coloured tonic. If this wine was a music gig, we’d be sitting in a room of the world’s most creative free jazz artists.
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- Winemaker: Mythopia
Where & How?
This wine comes from one of the Valais’ highest vineyard sites just off the village Ayent and Arbaz. The grapes for this cuvée are Pinot Noir and Fendant planted on a bed of slate and schist farmed according to organic and regenerative agricultural practices. The vineyards are approximately 25 to 45 years of age.
The grapes were partly de-stemmed and ferment in 1000L tanks for a twelve weeks with occasional push downs to slowly extract the tannins in the skins. After pressing the fermenting juice is transferred into small used barrels to age for a minimum of 2 years. Throughout that period there is no topping up or any kind of filtration or fining and all wines at Mythopia are being bottled without the addition of sulphur.
Mythopia sounds like a mythical land; one where nature and agriculture are not paradoxical. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote,
“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it, and over it.”
Planting a vineyard, just like most forms of agriculture, is inherently unnatural, because it creates a monocultural system. However, with care, it is possible to make a vineyard a great home for nature to thrive. There is perhaps nobody who has demonstrated this to the extent that Hans-Peter and Romaine Schmidt have with their vineyards in the Swiss Alps and with Hans-Peter’s work with biochar at the Ithaka Institute. The wine that is born from these vineyards is named Mythopia; from the Greek mythos (tales) and topos (location), while also nodding to Utopia; My Utopia.
It is no understatement to say that this is a true micro-utopia that escapes the circles of agrochemical hell surrounding it. It is a place that proves vines can be propagated to live in tandem with nature; in a manner that upholds biodiversity, rather than oppresses it.
As they say, this is a wine garden, not a vineyard.