Off Piste in Alsace

This week is all about Alsace with the arrival of the 2021s from shop favourite Yann Durrmann as well as our first offering of wines from Yann's neighbour and friend, Maxime Woerly. As it was for much of France, 2021 was a tough vintage in Alsace plagued with mildew and frost. Consequently, yields were down but quality is high, with the resulting wines lean and invigorating. They say the mark of truly great winemakers is their ability to make great wine in difficult vintages, and that is certainly the case here.

Domaine Durrmann

Yann Durrmann makes wine from his old family house in the middle of Andlau, a beautiful village nestled on the first slopes of the Vosges mountains south-west of Strasbourg. The Durrmann family are true eco warriors, only having electric cars and using solar energy for hot water and heating. Father André was among the first wave of organic winemakers in Alsace, converting in 1998, and son Yann has taken this a step further by applying a natural, minimal intervention approach in the cellar. This year we have six cuvées from Yann, including perennial faves Crax and Cuvée Nature Pinot rosé, as well as his inimitable Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Riesling Crax: Riesling macerated on skins for 15 days, aged for 10 months in old oak then bottled without filtration or added sulphur. A really delightful orange wine with pear, orange blossom and tomato leaf aromas woven together by fine acidity.

Cuvée Nature Rosé: Unfined, unfiltered Pinot Noir rosé with zero added sulphur. A beautiful hazy pink coloured rosé made with Pinot Noir from 2 different terroirs. Crunchy and vital with a touch of spice. 

Cuvée Nature Pinot Blanc: A sometimes underrated variety, this is Pinot Blanc made without sulphur or filtration. Super fresh with citrus blossom, chalky minerality and a fine lacing of acidity.

Cuvée Nature Sylvaner: Another Alsace speciality - Sylvaner - from old vines grown in sandy clay. Zippy and fresh with apple and pear fruit, lovely texture and taut acidity.

Cuvée Nature Riesling Sur Grès: Made from grapes grown in sandstone (grès). Pure and zippy with green apple, citrus blossom and a soft, chalky texture.

Zegwur: Gewürztraminer from two parcels, one grown in granite and the other in grés. With a quarter fermented on skins, this delivers a heady mix of rosewater, lychee, melon and grapefruit.

Domaine Schaeffer-Woerly

Maxime Woerly of Domaine Schaeffer-Woerly is an up and coming Alsace winemaker with 8 hectares of vines on the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mountains in Dambach-la-Ville. A friend of Yann Durrmann, he follows a similar approach to viticulture, converting to organics in 2010 and more recently, biodynamics. We have received 3 highly individual and expressive wines from Maxime, with the promise of more to come.

Infusion: Infusion is made from a direct press of Auxerrois infused with destemmed Muscat, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer suspended in the tank. A unique winemaking method and a very unique result - a heady, spicy and creamy orange with superb intensity and texture.

Pinot Noir 'Granit': Pinot Noir from a single parcel of vines at the top of a southern facing slope planted by Maxime’s grandfather in the 1960s. Made without sulphur and left unfiltered, this is a pure juicy delight with the crunchiest of fruit, and hints of wild flowers, black pepper and stoney minerality.

Le Vin en Rose: An enticingly aromatic and spicy blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewürztraminer. Vivid floral aromas with a beguiling medley of pear, apricot and red berry fruit.

Thanks very much for reading, you can check out the individual product pages for more info our explore our full range of wines from Alsace online here.