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label A. Kaufmann (Switzerland) Pio della Rocca 1998
This was a first for me: a Swiss red wine. It was served blind by a wine-loving friend who'd just returned from Geneva. The colour is a moderately deep ruby/crimson. On the nose quite savoury black fruit, some background charry oak and a certain mineral edginess. On the palate medium-bodied and a little lean. There is Bordeaux-like fruit and a cedary component, but it feels a little underpowered. There is some complexity, with hints at earth and minerals, and some dark fruit, but the whole impression is of a wine that has some really nice fruit, some good french oak, but which hasn't quite pulled it off in terms of structure and balance. Moderate tannins and a decent finish. Good.
I guessed this was a minor claret. When the label was revealed I was - and still am - none the wiser. Classified as a Vino da Tavola from the Svizzera Italiana, I can find no information on it including grape varieties. It cost around 15 and was sold in a specialist merchant as one of Switzerland's best reds. (08/00)