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Steve Bettschen/PHUSIS vins

Steve Bettschen

Phusis Pinot Noir “Clos du Mormont”

Phusis Pinot Noir “Clos du Mormont”

100% Pinot Noir from the Clos du Mormont, a vineyard existing in historical records as long ago as 814, but lost due to phylloxera and replanted in the 1980s. Mostly destemmed, aged in both stainless steel and oak barrels.

metaPhusis Riesling

metaPhusis Riesling

100% Riesling, from purchased fruit. 20 year old vines, both Alsatian and German clones.

metaPhusis Altesse

metaPhusis Altesse

100% Altesse, purchased fruit from the “Les Perrières” lieu-dit along the shores of Lake Bienne.

Phusis Arvine “Sur Falaise”

Phusis Arvine “Sur Falaise”

100% Petite Arvine, planted in 1997, from the estate vineyard at Sensine.

metaPhusis Arvine Brut Nature

metaPhusis Arvine Brut Nature

100% Petite Arvine from the “Trémazières” lieu-dit in Chamoson. Three years on the lees, followed by disgorgement without dosage. The bottles are topped up post-disgorgement with reserve wine kept in a solera system.

Phusis Arvine “Vieille Vigne Sur Falaise”

Phusis Arvine “Vieille Vigne Sur Falaise”

100% Petite Arvine, planted in 1955, from the estate vineyard at Sensine.

metaPhusis Chasselas “Sur Granite”

metaPhusis Chasselas “Sur Granite”

100% Chasselas from purchased fruit from a lieu-dit called “Les Bans” in Martigny, with granitic soils.

metaPhusis Gamay “Sur Granite”

metaPhusis Gamay “Sur Granite”

100% Gamay from purchased fruit from several parcels, mainly with crystalline soils with a high granite content. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in old oak and glass demijohns.

Phusis Humagne Rouge

Phusis Humagne Rouge

100% Humagne Rouge, whole cluster fermentation, aged briefly in old oak.

metaPhusis Pinot Noir “Terres Rouges”

metaPhusis Pinot Noir “Terres Rouges”

100% Pinot Noir from a lieu-dit called “Les Plantées” in Neuchâtel. 60+ year old massale selection vines planted on calcareous soils.

metaPhusis “Roche Fleurie” Blanc

metaPhusis “Roche Fleurie” Blanc

A blend of five co-planted white varieties: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sylvaner et Viognier. Purchased fruit from the “Les Rochettes” lieu-dit, with steep terraced slopes above the shores of Lake Bienne.

metaPhusis “Roche Fleurie” Rouge

metaPhusis “Roche Fleurie” Rouge

A blend of many red varieties, including Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Mondeuse, Diolinoir, Merlot, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zweigelt, etc. Purchased fruit from the “Les Rochettes” lieu-dit, with steep terraced slopes above the shores of Lake Bienne.

metaPhusis St-Laurent “La Neuveville”

metaPhusis St-Laurent “La Neuveville”

100% St Laurent, from a lieu-dit called “Les Perrières” on the hills around Lake Bienne.

About

Owner & winemaker: Steve Bettschen
Vineyards: about 2ha, of which 0.3ha is estate-owned, 0.5ha is rented, and 1.2ha is purchased fruit
Vineyard management: Biodynamic practices for the estate-farmed parcels, and biodynamic/organic/lutte raisonnée for the various parcels of purchased fruit
Soils: Extremely varied, from limestone to granite, including schist and glacial deposits
Grapes grown: Many, including Petite Arvine, Pinot Noir, Humagne Rouge, Cornalin, Chasselas, Gamay, Riesling, etc.
Annual production: around 7,000 bottles, depending on the year

Quick facts:

  • The name “phusis” comes from an ancient Greek word often translated as “nature.”
  • As a combination estate and négociant project, Steven Bettschen has a wide variety of grapes and terroirs to work with.
  • His winemaking philosophy can be summed up as “following nature, rather than opposing it.”

Steve Bettschen purchased a vineyard in 2007 with no intention of making wine himself–he hired a company to work the vineyards for him, but when that didn’t work out, he took things into his own hands and the rest, as they say, was history. Today, he works his vineyards almost entirely by hand on his own (with some occasional help from a horse). Between his own vineyards and those from which he sources fruit, Steve has a multitude of different terroirs as well as different styles of farming. As he says, “each of my suppliers has a big personality, and that influences their viticulture. The human aspect enriches the project as well, in my opinion.”

A small, old-fashioned vertical press is used for all grapes, except those destined for traditional-method sparkling wine. Whites are fermented and aged in barrel, while reds are fermented in stainless steel then aged in barrel. Wines are bottled via gravity, and left unfiltered when possible. In general, he lets time do its work and uses pumps and machines as little as possible. He does use a bit of SO2 because he feels that without it, it’s necessary to intervene more to control the temperature, which uses a significant amount of energy and thus has a negative impact on his carbon footprint. The goal, in Steve’s words, is to create wines that “express the energy of the places they come from.”