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Claudy Clavien

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic place to grow vines than in the Valais. Set in the broad […]

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Claudy Clavien

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic place to grow vines than in the Valais. Set in the broad Alpine valley carved by the Rhône River, many of the most productive vineyards are found on the deep alluvial clays on the valley floor, but the best sites cling to the ever more vertiginous slopes climbing into the mountains. As you make the climb, you will notice the soils becoming pooer and rockier and the sunlight shining on these south-facing hills more intense. Stay through dusk, and you will experience the chilling air from the mountains creeping down the slopes to the valley below. A climate such as this is as invigorating for the vineyards as it is for the people who tend them. Despite the geographic narrowness of this agricultural Eden, it is Switzerland’s largest wine-producing region. The Valais provides a third of the wine made in this small country, most of which is consumed by the locals, their compatriots, and the tourists who flock here for all the same reasons why the residents are loathe to leave. Protected on three sides by the Alps, this is also the driest and sunniest part of Switzerland in the summer, as well as a skiing destination in the winter – add some fantastic wine, and it is no wonder anyone who visits falls for the charms of this remarkable place.

Claudy Clavien was born in the Valais to a family that owned two hectares of vines above the village of Miège. Miège marks the far eastern edge of Francophone Valais, and as you travel further, melodious French gives way to the musical Swiss-German dialect. After studying enology at Changins, Claudy returned to Miège and founded La Cave des Champs in 1986. Starting with his parents’ two hectares of vines, he has expanded his vineyard holdings to 6 hectares. Despite the short history of La Cave des Champs, winemaking near Miège predates the Romans, with evidence of Celtic viticulture found at several nearby archeological sites. Famille Clavien having lived in Miège for centuries, it is only fitting then that Claudy and his daughter, Shadia, have emerged as proponents of the region’s indigenous grape varieties – Petite Arvine, Païen (Savagnin Blanc), Fendant (Chasselas), Humagne Rouge, and Cornalin. In addition to these ancient varieties, they also grow Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Diolinoir, and Carminoir. From their six hectares and 15 varieties, Claudy and Shadia make between 22 to 24 cuvées each vintage, so their modest cellar is run with a precision that borders on the Swiss cliché of efficiency. With a small production of just under 3,500 cases per year and the great demand for these wines in Switzerland, we are thrilled to offer three iconic cuvées – Païen, Larmes du Terroir, and Petite Arvine, Perles du Soleil, and a classically styled Fendant.

Valais, Switzerland
  • Location
    Valais, Switzerland
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Claudy & Joëlle Clavien
  • Winemaker
    Claudy & Shadia Clavien
  • Size / Elevation
    6.4 hectares / 730-800 meters
  • Age of Vines
    10-40 years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
    Arvine, Chardonnay, Chasselas, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Savagnin, Sylvaner, Cornalin, Humange Rouge, Diolinoir, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Carminoir
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, direct whole cluster pressing for the whites, fermentation and aging in stainless steel tanks
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