This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Swiss Sweet Over £15 went to Jean-René Germanier, Mitis Amigne de Vétroz Réserve, Valais 2011 (14.5%)

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  • No other Golds in this category

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Amigne is a grape indigenous to Switzerland and Gilles Besse, fourth-generation winemaker of Jean-René Germanier, says that all 40 hectares of the variety planted in the world are in the Valais, with 30ha of that in his local village of Vétroz. The slate soils here have a neutral character, and the vines lay on south-facing, terraced slopes of between 500m and 700m altitude.

Jean-René Germanier was founded at the end of the 19th century by Besse’s great-grandfather Urban Germanier. In the 1940s, Urban’s three sons continued the family tradition as well as introducing an eau de vie from the Williams pear which swiftly became the main focus of the business. That was until Besse’s uncle, Jean-René Germanier took over in the 1980s with a mission to produce quality wines.

Besse, who previously dreamed of being a musician and had played in several bands as a saxophonist, joined him in 1989, bringing a passion for technology and a desire to experiment with oak-aged wines.

This Trophy-winner was initially only produced as a still wine, with the first vintage in 1991. Since 1997 it has also been made in this late-harvest style. The noble, rot-infected grapes are picked in December with a residual sugar level of 125g/l. The wine then spends two years on its lees in new barrels. In 2011, just 8,000 bottles were produced.

Written by Decanter