The Unusual Grapes of Alsace – Domaine Deiss
March 25, 2019
If there are two major facts to remember about wines from Alsace is that the predominant majority are white wines and almost always, especially at the higher level, are single varietal wines. However, Domaine Deiss, located in Bergheim in the heart of Alsace’s wine producing region, is one maverick producer who eschews those norms and chooses to foreground blends in his top tier wines. Deiss’ thinking is different from other producers; his idea is to emphasize the terroir over highlighting specific varietal characteristics by producing blends of different grapes planted in his prized vineyards. A proponent of biodynamic farming, Deiss treats his vineyards with utmost care, without the use of pesticides and insecticides.
Deiss’ style is rich and textured with concentrated fruit aromas and carrying varying levels of residual sugar. They can be divided into three categories, the most notable being Vins de Terroirs, wines with a geographical designation that feature blends of several grape varieties. The best way to understand his wines is through the vineyard. He believes that terroir determines whether a wine will be sweet or dry. Altenberg, one of Alsace’s two Grand Cru sites which permits the use of blends, will usually get botrytis resulting in wines that show more sweetness. Mambourg on the other hand will be on the drier side. Wines from Langenberg and Engelgarten also tend to be dry.