Domaine Marcel Deiss

France, Alsace

Jean-Michel Deiss's wines are without doubt among the most exciting of the region. His experimental field blends in the wines he likes to call 'level of Premier Cru' 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. 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. Biodynamic.

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. Deiss’s own line and labeling have been further simplified: beginning with 2006 his lower tier of wines is being bottled without village designations, leaving him more flexibility in blending. Although Deiss did not bottle a full compliment of his crus from the rot-challenged 2006 vintage, he said he was loath to pull back by settling his musts more aggressively of bottling earlier, “because the lees are the megaphone for the terroir.” Fair enough in principle, but the results were to say the least decidedly mixed, whereas Deiss’s 2007s represent a resounding success. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate,