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Domaine de la Rochette

Located between the Alps and the Jura Mountains, Neuchâtel is underpinned by the same band of Jurassic limestone present in […]

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Domaine de la Rochette

Located between the Alps and the Jura Mountains, Neuchâtel is underpinned by the same band of Jurassic limestone present in Burgundy and the Jura. Compressed and folded by the geologic process that built the surrounding mountains, then ground smooth by the glaciers that also carved out the region’s three lakes – Neuchâtel, Biel, and Murten – Neuchâtel lacks the dramatic vistas of the Valais or the grandeur of Lavaux. The drama of Neuchâtel is subterranean. The region’s vineyards are located on the southeastern-facing slopes above the three lakes, where the topsoils are thin and the limestone is closer to the surface. These are the precise ingredients for making incredibly detailed, precise, and age-worthy Pinot Noir.

Few are aware of this hidden terroir outside of Switzerland, and if Jacques Tatasciore has his way, this will remain so. After leaving a corporate job, Jacques settled in Cressier and assembled a selection of top sites in Neuchâtel. There is no tasting room, no sign, and visitors are discouraged. Jacques is frequently awarded top honors in Switzerland for his wines, but he usually doesn’t attend the ceremonies – all his energy goes into his wines. Production is tiny, selection is painfully strict, allocations are jealously guarded, and details are scarce, but the wines speak for themselves.

Over the years, we’ve attempted to charm Jacques to get more details. All of his vineyards are a massale selection of Pinot Noir. The ancestors of these vines have been grown in the region for centuries. They are a rare look back into time before Burgundian and Swiss clones replaced much of the less productive and unpredictable ancestral diversity of Swiss Pinot Noir. Jacques vines are, on average, 50 years old, and when a vine needs to be replaced, they make a massive selection from the same parcel. Having started with just two hectares in 1999, he’s slowly expanded his property to six hectares. Being an iconoclast in many ways, he has farmed organically and biodynamically since the beginning but eschews certification because he feels no need to prove himself or talk about what is simply the most logical and proper way to farm. He describes his winemaking as traditional, a loaded word with a nebulous meaning. Seeing the company he keeps and how his wines express themselves, one can deduce that his are whole-cluster and indigenous fermentations. The wines are aged in French oak barrels but never taste oaky or reductive.

Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Location
    Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Jacques Tatasciore
  • Winemaker
    Jacques Tatasciore
  • Size / Elevation
    6 hectares / 450 meters
  • Age of Vines
    35-70 years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
    Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, whole cluster, natural yeast fermentation, aging in French oak barrels