Terroirs' birth

Born from the earth: The character of great wines depends mainly on the nature of soil, nature of the terroir, its location, presence of minerals which can be assimilated by the vines, clay retaining water and sand ensuring soil aeration. Each soil type has a corresponding wine personality.

Born from the sky: The soil is not enough. The growth and quality of grapes also depend on sunshine, exposure to wind and morning mist, water source close-by.

Born from the hand: It is essential to have an alchemist who knows how to make this alchemy work! It’s here that human talent and experience come into play by sublimating natural soil characteristics along with climatic conditions. Factors such as the choice of grape variety, soil maintenance, vine conditioning, harvesting methods and mastering the winemaking process make the real difference.

So is born a terroir: complex set of inter-twined relationship between the underground rocks, the soil, atmosphere, current weather and the time passing by. An environment that is in harmony with vines; the natural elements acquired by the winemaker over centuries to develop “know-how of the terroir” and transmit them to the wine. The footprints of the terroir add a touch of soul to our wine, which is unique and complex at the same time.

Geology and climate

Alsace is situated in a continental rift at north-south axis of an ancient mountain whose vestiges can still be found: Vosges in the west and Black Forest in the East. Bound by the Jura in the South and the hills of lower Alsace in the North it forms a basin with semi-continental sunny climate, warm and dry. The Alsatian vineyards are situated in the hills of lower Vosges at an altitude ranging from 180 to 400 meters, i.e. to say above the fog layers found in the plains. Sunshine and other geological conditions of heat accumulation are far superior to those of the plain.

These hills of the lower Vosges are located in the “rain shadow” area of the Vosges, which confers it a very typical climate: this area counts among the regions in France, which get the least precipitations (on average between 500 and 700 mm a year).

In autumn the warm days alternate with cool nights, ideal for long and slow ripening of grapes. The crispness of the wines is thus encouraged by development of complex aromas and preservation of acidity.

Alsatian geology can be compared to a mosaic: granite, limestone, clay, schist, and sandstone. This great variety of terroirs creates a thriving environment for different grapes. We have six among them: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, l Muscat, l Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir.

Grands Crus

The notion of Grand Cru appeared in Alsace as early as the 9th Century. With passing time, experience, and know-how of generations of winegrowers, the best and most remarkable soils could be revealed.

These exceptional places are strictly defined according to unique geological and climatic criteria and correspond to the best Alsatian terroirs. Among 51 varieties spread all over Alsace we can claim three:

Grand Cru KITTERLE: Mineral complexity

On the way out of Lauch Valley and in the north of Guebwiller, Kitterlé rises up as a spur on the Unterlinger Mountain. Thus it offers various exposures (South, southeast, and southwest) on a steeply sloping ground. Extremely well sheltered from north wind it enjoys remarkable sunshine and occupies a unique site in Alsace at an altitude ranging from 270 to 360 meters.

Its substrate is formed with coarse sandstone of the Vosges and quartzite conglomerate of middle Bundsandstein. Towards the summit the level of fine sandstone and Micaceous clay (or alumina) can be found in interstratified layers. Grauwackes of the carboniferous era are abundant in the west of sand-stony-volcanic terroir.

Immense walls of dry stones retain the light and sandy soil. They allow a very limited yield, which encourages highly concentrated aromas and exceptional lifespan of the wines.

Tasting notes: :

Riesling is especially well adapted to this terroir. Its flattering nose with slightly mineral notes sends out an invitation to drink. On the palate this wine reveals its finesse, an exquisite fruitiness backed by pleasant acidity.

Wine and food pairing: :

“ The overall tautness of the wines and the finesse of aromas give way to delicious pairing with fishes, seafood with soft flesh, raw or cooked, accompanied by delicate sauce.

Turbot, brill, sole and oysters are perfect companions, which go well with the touch of mineral in the wine. The smoky aspect of the wines highlights upon the aromas of these dishes. “

Romain ILTIS
Awarded French best sommelier in 2012

Grand Cru SAERING : Finesse of the fruit

In the northeast of Guebwiller, adjacent to Kitterlé, the Saering turns towards East and Southeast at an altitude ranging from 260 to 300 meters.

Covered by oligocene formation from Latdorfian age and made of sandstone pebble conglomerates from Bundsandstein as well as inter stratified marl, this terroir reveals a lime-stony underground, which might sometimes surface. The soil on the whole has a relatively heavy texture, sandy and marly, full of gravel.

We have exclusive rights on grape varieties of this Grand Cru: Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

Tasting notes:

Wines grown on this terroir have a typical floral bouquet. One observes a pronounced fruitiness of the grape variety backed by a dry and racy character on the palate. The nose is harmonious and spicy giving way to aromas of honey and grilled almonds in the mouth.

“ All grape varieties convey notes of fruit and crunchiness. The structure reveals a frank coolness, enhanced by a remarkably marine note in the finish. These mouthwatering wines have a beautiful length.

Gewurztraminer remains cool and well digestible, highlighting a salty as well as noble vegetal spirit, often reminding of water herbs. ”

Romain ILTIS
Awarded French best sommelier in 2012

Wine and food pairing:

Drink it for sheer pleasure or with roasts, game, pork trotters, lamb legs or chocolate-based dessert.

Grand Cru SPIEGEL: Charming and feminine

Spiegel stretches on the mid slopes on both banns of Guebwiller and Bergholtz. It is highly reputed over 50 years during which some of its characteristics have been proudly preserved to do justice to this fame.

Situated on an average slope between 260 and 315 meters it is oriented to the East. Its oligocene substrate of (mostly sandstone pebbles) conglomerates and inter-layered latdorfian marl is partially covered with debris and colluvium of the sandy Trias and might surface occasionally. Soils born from this substrate have a clayey-sandy texture with reasonable water characteristics.

This terroir creates an environment, where Gewurztraminer and Riesling on its southern slope can thrive.

Tasting notes:

“ This Riesling plays out its subtle aromas of white flowers and herbal tea.

Gewurztraminer might often be over-ripe and has well developed notes of dry fruit and fruit spread. One can find a refined lastingness and balance in all grape varieties. ”

Romain ILTIS
Awarded French best sommelier in 2012

Wine and food pairing:

Have a go at this Riesling with a fruity and intense nose, with oysters, sea and river fishes well as with a rack of lamb.

Serve Gewurztraminer with Foie Gras, kidney casserole or calf sweetbread.