On May 6 and 7, students following the Wine and Management Programme had the chance to delve into the heart of Alsace and discover the history, the terroir, the economy, the way in which the wine industry is organized and the secrets of production of such grape varieties as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Alsatian Grands Crus.
During the two days the students, accompanied by Mr. Franck Ramage, head of the programme visited five producers.
Day 1: The students had their first tasting at Domaine Josmeyer.
Isabelle Meyer (in charge of vinification) described how she saw the profession with passion and poetry. Her entire vineyard is dedicated to organic and biodynamic viticulture, a choice that is arduous and expensive but which respects both the soil and the vines.
- Alsace Pinot blanc “mise du printemps” 2013
- Alsace Muscat 2012 “Les grands voyageurs”
- Alsace Riesling 2011 Kottabe
- Alsace Pinot gris 2010 Le Fromenteau
- Alsace Grand Cru Hengst Gewurztraminer 2006
The second tasting took place at Domaine Weinbach: Located at the foot of the “Schlossberg” Grand Cru hill the estate, established by the Capuchin monks in 1612, is steeped in history. An eminent figure in the Alsace wine world, the Faller family has been working to optimize the terroir and grape varieties since 1979. A tasting of 9 wines gave the students an understanding of how this surprising terroir expresses itself.
- Alsace Pinot Noir Réserve 2012
- Alsace Pinot blanc Réserve 2013
- Alsace Riesling Cuvée Théo 2013
- Alsace Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling Cuvée Sainte Catherine 2013
- Alsace Pinot Gris Cuvée Sainte Catherine 2012
- Alsace Gewurztraminer Cuvée Laurence 2011
- Alsace Grand Cru Furstentum Gewurztraminer 2009
- Alsace Grand Cru Mambourg Gewurztraminer Late Harvest 2011
- Alsace Grand Cru Frustentum Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 2006
Day 2: The first tasting took place at Domaine Marcel Deiss in Bergheim.
The estate totals 27 hectares of vines split into more than 220 parcels with vastly differing soils. This variety gives the notion of “diverse expression of a terroir” true meaning.
Three different ranges of wines are produced at the estate:
- Wines from a single grape variety, produced on village appellations
- Complantation wines using all Alsatian grape varieties, named after their terroir and are equivalent to a Premier Cru or Grand Cru
- Late Harvest and Sélections de Grains Nobles, made from the magic of botrytised grapes.
- Alsace blanc 2012
- Alsace Langenberg “La longue colline” 2011
- Alsace Engelgarten “Le jardin des anges” 2011
- Alsace Rotenberg “La colline rouge” 2009
- Alsace Gruenspiel “Le jeu des verts” 2008
- Alsace Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim 2007
- Alsace Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2009
The second highlight of the day was a visit to Domaine Trimbach. Following a tour of the impressive underground cellar, François Wilhem gave a tasting of 8 wines including an exceptional Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2007.
The world renowned Domaine Trimbach makes top of the range wines, which are mainly for export. A period of at least five years passes before the wine is sold as they are considered to be too young to be drunk within a year.
The day ended with a visit to the Metté distillery in Ribeauvillé. Philippe Traber shared his savoir-faire and passion for Alsatian brandies (eaux-de-vie) which are distilled in traditional small copper stills. The importance of the raw materials (fruit), the care taken when distilling and the ageing in vats or in glass demi-johns, all make up an artisanal know-how that has become extremely rare. The result: Brandies (eaux-de-vie) and liquors which surprise both the nose and the palate (brandy (eau de vie) with garlic, cinnamon, mint, almond etc).
The trip to Alsace gave our students the opportunity to learn a great deal about the diversity of a terroir which is often “misunderstood or not well-known”. The visits were marked by the warm and friendly welcomes we received and the top quality tastings.
This is the last trip for this year’s Wine & Management class who are now preparing for another great adventure: Their exams!