With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This fiercely contested stretch of land running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.

The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s fifty-one Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.

Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsace Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint character with age. Gewürztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savoury spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavours. Muscat, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.

Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir — the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsace wines are single-varietal bottlings and, unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.

Now run by the 6th and 7th generations, Domaines Schlumberger was founded in 1810 by Nicolas Schlumberger, who established vineyards on the renowned slopes above the town of Guebwiller.

Planted at altitudes of 750 to 1,450 feet, much of the terraced hillside vineyards above Guebwiller are so steep that driving tractors can be extremely hazardous. Therefore, the domaine uses draught horses specially bred for balance and unaffected by vertigo.

The vineyards are divided into large parcels, each planted to specific Alsace varieties selected according to microclimate and soil characteristics. In general, the soil is light, sandy and porous, ideal for grapes. The natural dryness contributes to the richness and mineral flavour of the wines.

Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Kitterlé Pinot Gris
The Kitterlé is a volcanic sandstone soil occupying a unique site on mountain ledges, on a rocky spur exposed to three directions (south-west, south and south-east). The light and sandy soil retained by immense dry stone walls allows only a limited yield (25 to 35 hl/ha).

The Pinot Gris is hand harvested in wooden crates. Grapes are fermented in thermo-regulated tuns for one to four months and matured on the lees for eight months.

Tasting Notes
Golden yellow in colour. The nose is charming with aromas of cashews, hazelnuts, patisserie, and smoke. On the palate the wine is full bodied and soft with exceptional freshness. The Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kitterlé is extremely complex and rich with a long, refreshing finish.

Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Kitterlé Pinot Gris 2013
Alsace, France
VINTAGES# 660662, $34.00 SHOP »»
"The 2013 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kitterlé is very rich and intense, but also very clear and elegant on the nose where crushed stones are displayed with some nice creamy or lactic flavors. On the palate the wine is rich and creamy, very smooth and the 35 grams of residual sugar are more prominent than in the corresponding Kesseler. This is still a very young wine whose soul is deep, but will become more obvious in five or ten years when the wine will be more pure. Drink date: 2020-2033." Score: 93 Pts. - Stephan Reinhardt, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, February 28, 2017.

Delicious with Asian cuisine, honey glazed pork, beef cheek served with prunes, or cheeses such as Comté or Beaufort.

Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Saering Riesling 2017

First mentioned in 1250, the Saering plot escapes from the hill and extends like a peninsula on the plain, forming a sort of tongue of land in the form of a ring. It has been sold under its own name since 1830.

To the north of Guebwiller, Saering faces east and southeast at an altitude of 260 to 300. Saering marl/limestone/sandstone terroir brings out the best in this magnificent, fine, delicate Riesling.

The grapes are handpicked and whole bunches are pressed. There is static settling of the lees. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled tuns, followed by rising on the lees for 8 months.

Tasting Notes
Golden in colour with green hues, with aromas of lime, chamomile, stone fruits and a hint of white pepper. Zippy, mineral and dry.

Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Saering Riesling 2017
Alsace, France
VINTAGES# 627950, $37.00 SHOP »»
"Cinnamon, white pepper, green paprika, green apples and citrus. Medium-bodied and very taut and citrusy on the palate, this trades in bright acidity and steely apple crunch. Drink now." Score: 93 Pts. - James Suckling, August 12, 2019.

Serve with hors d'œuvre, salad, seafood, raw and smoked fish.
Dopff au Moulin is a historic Alsatian winery, located in the heart of the most renowned Grand Cru in the area. The origins of the Domaine date back to 1574 and, for centuries, the art of growing grapes and making wine has been handed down from generation to generation, up to the present day.

Located near the charming medieval town of Riquewihr, the estate's vineyards are more than 300 metres above sea level, nestled in the foothills of the lower Vosges, sheltered from the northerly winds and the rain from the west. The southerly exposure of the vineyards and favourable microclimate lend themselves to the art of producing excellent wine.

The Grand Cru classified vineyard of Brand overlooks the town of Turckheim and reaches an altitude of 343 metres above sea level. The wines of the Brand vineyard have been highly reputed since the 14th century. The vineyard faces South and South-East and features very steep slopes. The soil consists of "Turckheim granite" with black and white micas, which is characterized by a low water retention capacity. The steep slopes combined with the granite soils, contribute to the rapid warming of the soil, which helps to encourage the vine to mature. 

Dopff au Moulin Grand Cru Brand Gewürztraminer 2017
Dopff au Moulin Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Brand is one of the finest, most complex Gewürztraminers from Alsace, with floral aromas or lychees and rose petals and spicy, luscious flavours. Around 15 grams per litre of residual sugar.
Dopff au Moulin Grand Cru Brand Gewürztraminer 2017
Alsace, France
VINTAGES# 666941, $53.00 SHOP »»
"100% Gewürztraminer. The granite hillside of the Brand Grand Cru above Turckheim is magnificently exposed, giving Gewürztraminer all the teasing and leisurely ripeness it needs to reach its aromatic apogee — as you'll see on first sniff of this generously constituted, almost unctuous wine. Billowing scents of lychee, rose and ginger are followed by a palate of great sumptuousness and feather-bed softness, lush and lavish though never cloying thanks to the resonant stony bitterness of the variety in this site. It's not by any means a dry wine but it's not a dessert wine either; instead this is a lavishly complete Gewürz for sipping on its own or partnering with rich pâté or cheese. Drink date: 2019-2022." Score: 97 Pts., Decanter World Wine Awards 2019, Best in Show.

Delicious as an apéritif. Enjoy with foie gras or strong cheeses.
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