About Cave La Madeleine

By Lisa Rowlands

Located in the renowned vin-village of Vétroz, the curiously named Cave La Madeleine, is owned and managed by its founder, André Fontannaz - a passionate, forward thinking winemaker who operates his business on the core Swiss values of quality, precision and respect for the terroir of the region. The winery is so-called after a stained glass window designed by the proprietor’s sister and depicting Mary Magdalene - the patron saint of the village; the artist also contributes graphics for some of the labels which adorn the company’s wine bottles.

With nearly twenty hectares under vine, Fontannaz cultivates a wide range of grape varieties on the steep sun-kissed slopes of Vétroz and the rich, alluvial gravel of Balavaud. He is renowned in particular, for his handling of the indigenous and scarcely grown Amigne variety, which under his tutelage yields aromatic, virile wines with a harmonious finish. Other white varieties include Petite Arvine, Pinot Gris and Savagnin (known here by the alias Païen), whilst Cornalin, Gamaret, Humagne Rouge and Syrah are amongst the reds. In total, Cave La Madeleine produces more than twenty unique wines across four distinct product lines, each one categorised to reflect the style of wine and/or method of production.

The traditional range is, as its name suggests, a collection of mono-varietals and blends cultivated and vinified using the traditional methods of the region. The wines of this line include ‘Dole’ - a rich red blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes considered a staple of canton Valais. ‘Tendance’ is a set of three varietals aged in amphora to enhance complexity, whilst the cellar’s Grand Cru range is subject to the strict standards of the appellation. Grown in specifically selected vine parcels, these wines from the Amigne, Fendant (Chasselas) and Pinot Noir varieties are most notable for their expressive character. The producer’s most prestigious product line is its Réserve range - a triad of mono-varietals plus the house speciality ‘Assemblage Magdelena’. Aged in French oak barrels for periods of up to eighteen months, these wines exude the quality for which this country is renowned.