Markus Ruch is a biodynamic grower based in the Klettgau valley, close to the German border. After working with Swiss pioneers like Marie-Thérèse Chappaz and Christian Zündel in Tessin, Markus spent some time with a number of biodynamic growers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with Pinot Noir. In 2007 he decided to return to his roots and set up his 3 hectare estate not far from the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. Only 400 hectares of vines are planted in the Klettgau region, and most of the vines are used for large quantity production rather than terroir driven wines. However, the Klettgau’s climatic conditions and limestone rich soils are perfect for yielding elegant and restrained expressions of Pinot Noir.
Markus works with old Swiss clones of Pinot Noir rather than Burgundy clones, believing that the local vines are better suited to expressing the regional terroir. His vines are among the oldest in the region, planted on parcels that date back to the 14th century. Markus also works with a number of different local grapes such as Müller- Thurgau, which he ferments on the skins in amphorae. The focus is very much on biodiversity in the vineyards and minimal intervention in the cellar. All his wines are fermented using natural yeasts and bottled unfiltered, with only a small addition of sulphur.
In recent years he has also started using some of his Pinot Noir grapes to experiment on 'methode ancestrale' directly pressed sparkling that he also labels under the appellation 'Klettgau'. To us, Markus is redefining the idea of modern Swiss wine while not forgetting the past and long history of wine in the region.