|Grapes||Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Riesling|
This stunning single vineyard blend of Riesling, Muscat and three of the Pinot family - Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir is initially showing such wonderful underlying minerality and fresh acidity that the sweetness never really comes to the fore, but there is lovely richness lurking. This is still young and bright but has all the components for a long and exciting life ahead. Already very hard to resist - and why should you! L&S (Aug 2013)
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The field-blend of Riesling, Muscat, and Pinots that is Deiss’s 2010 Engelgarten leads with a musky evocation of narcissus against a generally leafy, floral, wet stone, greenhouse-like aromatic backdrop. There is a breadth and mid-palate saturation here that I would not have expected to be compatible with such sheer refreshment and lift as this engenders on the palate. The finish here – which also features apple and peach fruit character – puts me vividly in mind of wet gravel such as characterizes the Engelgarten soil when it rains. This sort of connection makes one receptive to Jean-Michel Deiss’s sometimes slightly mystical or (to me, anyway) otherwise inscrutable explications of terroir. Curiously, the relative clarity of the corresponding 2011 versus opacity here represent the opposite of what I would have anticipated from their respective vintages. Look to follow this 2010 through to at least 2017. Rating: 90 David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate (Sep 2014)
Rich but dazzlingly fresh and long, with floral, apricot, citrus and minerally white pepper notes; poised, polished and full of personality. If it seems to sing Alsace, but you can't quite pin it down, it's because it's a blend of Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The vines, cultivated biodynamically, are old and grow together in a single vineyard in the old way. A good food wine which would go well with something with a little spice, rich sauces or a sweet onion tart – and you could drink it through to the end of the decade. Rating: 93 The Wine Gang - www.thewinegang.com (Jan 2014)
Domaine Marcel Deiss
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.
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