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Sweet wines

Sweet wines are without any doubt one of the great strengths of Valais wines!

Few grape-growing areas in the world are suitable for making great sweet wines, called liquoreux in French to denote sweet but also top quality. Valais is part of this small and privileged group: its late harvest wines are the equal of those of France—Sauterne, Coteaux du Layon, Riesling Auslese—and Tokaji Azu from Hungary.

Valais provides the perfect setting for grapes to wither naturally on the vine in autumn. The climate is exceptional, with dry late autumns, a high amount of sunshine, warm during the
day and cool at night, rosy sunrises, a mix of winds including the famous dry foehn. Such late harvests are often happily accompanied by the development of noble rot (the famous
Botrytis cenerea), that magician which creates indescribably fine aromas. The best plants are found on the steepest slopes, which tend to have excellent ventilation and exaggerate climatic
conditions, giving rise to sweet wines that are among the best in the world.

The Charte Grain Noble ConfidenCiel was created in 1996. It accounts for much of the success today of the sweet wines of Valais. Some 30 producers have banded together to
encourage this tradition of great wines made from vine-dried grapes. These producers sign a charter agreeing to respect rules whose key points are to:

• use traditional Valais grape varieties planted in the best areas and from vines that are at least 15 years old: Petite Arvine, Ermitage, Johannisberg, Amigne, Paien and Malvoisie.

• leave the grapes to develop a high level of natural sugar in the must (minimum 130 degrees Oechslé, without adding sugar)

• let the wines mature a minimum of 12 months in wood, either casks or barrels

• the Grain Noble ConfidenCiel is given only after an internal tasting session by the group, which retains wines judged sufficiently worthy.

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