November 2021 | Enthusiast Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Zusslin 2016 Bollenberg Pinot Noir
From the Producer
Biodynamic Estate since 1997. Alsace wine from certified “Organic Farming” grapes controlled by ECOCERT. Located in Orschwihr, halfway between Colmar and Mulhouse, since 1691.East part of France, near the Swiss and German boarders. The 13 successive generations at the head of the winery always had at heart to produce high quality terroir wines, showcasing the slopes of the Bollenberg, the Clos Liebenberg, the Monopole of the family and the Grand Cru Pfingstberg. In 1997, the whole winery was converted to biodynamic farming: sustainability, biodiversity development in our vineyards and orchards, creation of a virtuous circle, are our everyday motto.
The Bollenberg is one of the dry hill surrounding the city of Rouffach and 4 villages included Orschwihr. Extraordinary rich in biodiversity, unique in Europe from the most part, it is the home of extremely rare fauna and flora. On a pure geological point of view, the Bollenberg is composed of glacial deposit dating back from the Oligocene (glacial period : 23M years ago) and limestone part from torrential origins. Some of the marls you can find on the East side are of costal deposit origins. On the lower part of the hill you’ll also find loess. Vineyard here grows in harmony with the surrounding nature. Wildlife here is huge with many different birds all around: in order to gather even more birds in our vineyard, we’ve installed over a hundred bird nests in our rows. Real hard workers, they are a big help to fight against bugs and pests. By doing so, they also bring energy and life, much needed to create a lively winery.
This is an incredibly well made and expressive wine – and when you crack the foil there’s a nice little bit of cheer waiting for you (hint: the cork is just lovely). The nose is blooming with red currants, spearmint, and a targeted, nuanced nose. The palate has nice acidity to carry the wine and very well integrated silky tannins. There is a sense of savory thyme oils and dried cocoa that linger for several minutes. The pure expression of terroir alone has me enamored with this wine. The wine does show better on day one than day two, but day two isn’t bad – it’s just different. Day two is suede, leather, silk, and less mineral driven brightness. This is likely due to the very low levels of free SO2 at bottling (10 ppm). For food pairings I suggest playing with dishes such as duck breast with a balsamic reduction and fried herbs or roasted turkey. Drink now – 2023.
Domaine Mann 2018 “Fly me to the Moon” Pinot Blanc
From Martines Wines
A rising star in Alsace, Sébastien Mann joined the family estate in 2009 with a passion for viticulture. His family inherited the land in Eguisheim following WWII, and his parents, Jean-Louis and Fabienne, inherited the property from Jean-Louis' parents in 1982. Previously known as 'Mann Henri,' in 1998, they decided to make their first wines under Jean-Louis et Fabienne Mann's name. A region steeped in tradition and pedigree each generation has imprinted a signature on the family Domaine. regarded producers such as Albert Boxler, Barmes Buecher, and Julien Meyer. The Estate has been certified organic since 2008 and biodynamic since 2009. The 12.8 hectares (12 to white varietals and .8 to red) are planted with the following grapes: Sylvaner, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat à Petits Grains Blancs, Auxerrois, and Pinot Noir.
More importantly, the Domaine represents a style we have long sought in Alsace; the wines are singular, pure with superb balance and a stately complexity. Sébastien implemented a sweetness scale on the back label that considers the sugar, alcohol, and acidity levels, designed to preview the wine. In a world where Alsatian wines confuse the savviest of drinkers because of the unknown dry or sweetness factor, it is one of the most accurate depictions seen in Alsace. It is a family with intricate knowledge of the various Alsatian terroirs. Their property represents multiple soil types, grape varietals and the wines reflect the vineyards' unique character. Sébastien embodies a new generation of talented vignerons producing beautiful wines balanced in their power, extract, and finesse.
This Pinot Blanc from Mann will bring vibrancy and elegance to any table – think silky lemon oils with grapefruit pith, soft lilies, and green runts candy (not the sweet part, just the textured, bright part). The background has guava, pineapple, and squash blossom tonality that sits over high salinity and high acidity. On day two the wine is more lifted but with tones of lemongrass, Thai basil and saffron (I really like it!). The acid still rips through on day two, but it has a softer dimension. Overall, I am very impressed with this new producer (to me) and would love to experience some of their Grand Cru expressions. Drink now – 2024 to retain freshness, serve in an AP glass slightly above refrigerator temperature, and open 15 minutes before drinking.
Chateau d’Orschwihr 1994 Gewurztraminer Grains Nobles
From the Producer
A fabulous wine, its exceptional length on the palate, as well as its aromatic balance and concentration. This wine has white flowers, apricot and peach aromas. The ageing potential is also fantastic, thanks to its 80 grams of sugar and a very high acidity for a Gewurztraminer, it can be kept easily between 20 and 30 years.
Year of planting:1963
Yield: 25 hl/ha
Harvest date: 02/11/1994
Bottling date: 19/07/1995
Alcoholic title : 13.5%
Acidity (H2SO4) : 4.04 g/l
SO2 total 137 mg/l
Residual sugar (Non-Chaptalized wine) 83.2 g/l
Recommended service temperature: 13°C
*I did break the cork when I tried to open this – fyi.
The wine is bright golden – almost glowing - amber in color. On the nose are lovely notes of orange oil, wormwood, fresh cardamom, and fresh honey – the palate is juicy and fleshy upfront with notes of cinnamon sticks, caramel, and grilled peaches. There is an obvious perception of residual sugar despite wonderful integration. The finish is still textured orange peel and orange pith and is carried along by lovely acid. Food pairings could include obvious dishes such as citrus and cardamom upside down cake, but don’t be afraid to adventure into red spiced curries or alone as a dessert itself. Drink now and just below cellar temperature - serve in an all-purpose glass.