" Schoenenbourg is the gem of all the Riquewihr vineyards!"
Schoenenbourg is the gem of all the Riquewihr vineyards. This site has been the birthplace of the greatest wines in the region and is the reason for Riquewihr’s almost universal renown. The combination of a light, airy topsoil and a fertile clay subsoil, with good water retention, explains why terroir dominates varietal in Schoenenbourg.
Schoenenbourg does another fascinating trick. Among the Deiss wines, Altenberg is the wine we sometimes use to pair with deserts (just the fruit based ones such as pear or apple tarts as it’s not sweet enough for others.) And though Schoenenbourg is higher in residual sugar than Altenberg, routinely around 70 g/l, it doesn’t come across as sweet enough for deserts. This is what the Deiss’ website suggest: Shellfish and food rich in iodine (lobster, spiny lobster). Fattened chickens, capons and noble fishes, and caviar after a decade of aging.
Tasting notes: The wines display an undeniable aptitude for aging, richness, extraordinary body, and a very unique expression: peppered or even smoky nose, a backbone beneath the fullness, a mineral expression that may remain hidden in youth but gives fossilized notes with time. Thanks to the potential for noble rot in this area, residual sugars are usually quite high. Schoenenberg is one of the greatest wines made in the Alsatian terroirs.
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.
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