Domaine Marcel Deiss

France, Alsace

Domaine Deiss's wines are without doubt among the most exciting of the region. The domaine has long focused on field blends so as to produce wines which reflect the terroir on which they are grown more than the individual grape variety, and in doing so Deiss has forced changes on a region which was known only for varietal wines thirty years ago. For many years this consisted mostly of the 'Alsace' blend at the entry level, and then a series of wines from specific sites which Jean-Michel called his 'level of Premier Cru' wines.

Now, having expanded the vineyard area, they have introduced a series of 'village-level' wines which are produced in the same way - from sites with several varieties planted together which are picked and vinified together too. All of these are immensely impressive and worth experimenting with - they each have a definite and unique character, and are some of the most fascinating white wines in the world. Of course we have favourites, and ours are probably Zellenberg at the village level, and Engelgarten at the level of premier cru - but like Burgundy, the complexity is best embraced rather than trying to simplify - all these wines are worth trying, to find your own favourites and to understand the bigger picture: start here!

Deiss may be a contrary character himself, not always in tune with other producers in the area, but the quality in the wines really does speak for what he has achieved.

The wines from the original vineyards are all certified organic and biodynamic, but as the domaine has recently expanded from 27 hectares to 40, some of the new vineyards have not yet achieved certification. All the wines are suitable for vegetarians, but they are not certified for that.

Mathieu Deiss is slightly changing the style of the wines his father Jean-Michel preferred. Mathieu favors a more pure, precise, fresh and subtle style combined with the terroir-driven deepness and expression consumers are expecting when they are buying a wine from Marcel Deiss. Although they are less rich and powerful today than a few years ago, Mathieu supposes they will age as well as the wines of his father, who is still the boss at the Domaine, but leaves the winemaking to his son. He prefers taking care of the vineyards. Stephan Reinhart, The Wine Advocate, erobertparker.com (Jun 2017)


Jean-Michel Deiss has been officially tasked with assisting his fellow Alsace growers in the drafting of new regional regulations and labeling conventions, in keeping with both France’s proposed move to a higher-order French appellation “d’Origine Protegee” and with the potential regional autonomy provided for (if inchoately) by recent EU legislation. As readers can imagine, Deiss’s vision involves a drastically diminished scope and roll for varietal bottling, analogous to his conception of Alsace crus as being best expressed by a blending of multiple cepages. (For more on the evolution of Deiss’s approach, consult my report in issue 175). Two things are indubitable: Alsace could use fresh approaches to labeling and marketing; and any Deiss proposal will have been thought-through all the way down to its historical and metaphysical levels. (written in 2008) Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com