Visits to revered wineries and personal encounters with producers themselves make this a trip that is simply not to be missed. A picturesque medieval landscape provides the setting for samplings of distinctive rieslings and other fine vintages, and interesting approaches to winemaking keep us on our toes.
Discover the biodynamic mindset that inspires Domaine Marcel Deiss, experience the delicious way the terroir is reflected at Domaine Paul Blanck, and pay a visit to the grand masters of Riesling at Domaine Trimbach. A week in beautiful Alsace will show you how it pulls both French and Germanic influences to create simply stunning wines.
Our tour begins with a flight to Basel and upon arrival we will pay a very special visit to Domaine Schlumberger, where we will be hosted by the estate’s director, Stephane Chaise. Established by Nicholas Schlumberger in 1810, this biodynamic winery is one of the region’s largest estates and boasts 140 hectares under vine. Producing a wide range of wines from all the Alsace grape varieties, it particularly excels in Gewürtztraminers and Rieslings. During our visit here, we will enjoy a light, informal lunch in the beautiful gardens along with a vineyard and cellar tour, and – of course – a delicious tasting. Later, we return to our hotel and sit down to an introductory tasting, where we will indulge in wines from this magnificent region, before our evening meal together.
This morning, we take a leisurely stroll down to the village of Ribeauvillé to visit Domaine Trimbach, the grand masters of Riesling. Based on the edge of this picturesque medieval village, this is a truly awe-inspiring winery to visit because of its prestige. Our host, Anne Trimbach, will enlighten us on the estate’s philosophy and we will enjoy a special tasting, where we will experience first-hand the greatest Riesling in Alsace. Next, there will be a little free time to explore Ribeauvillé before we make our way to a tasting with the Conseil Interprofessionel des Vins d’Alsace – the governing body responsible for overlooking the viticulture, wines and appellations of Alsace. Here, we will sample a selection of wines from local estates that we will not visit during this tour. In the evening, we will have dinner at Coté Cour in Colmar before returning to our hotel for the night.
Following a delicious breakfast, we travel to the village of Kientzheim for a tasting session at Domaine Paul Blanck. This excellent family run estate runs on an ethos of striving to both understand and express the terroir of the Kientzheim/Kaysersberg valley – including the grand crus Scholssberg, Furstentum and the deeper-soiled Altenburg. From these vineyards, we try wines of restrained elegance, great finesse and powerful character. Later, we take a trip to stunning Riquewihr to visit Hugel. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest names in Alsace wine and provides a fascinating visit, showing us how large-scale wine production is managed in the centre of a medieval village. After our tour and in-depth tasting, we will continue to explore Hugel wines over lunch in a nearby local brasserie and there will also be time to wander the charming streets before either returning to our hotel or joining the afternoon vineyard walk, which is optional. Dinner tonight will be at Wistub du Sommelier.
The first visit today will be to Domaine Weinbach, located at the foot of the majestic Schlossberg hill. The Clos des Capucins vineyard surrounds the domaine and the prestigious Schlossberg vineyard – the first terroir in Alsace to receive the status of Grand Cru – rise dramatically above the clos. The wines produced here are revered for their intensity, finesse, balance and concentration, and after tasting them it will be easy to see why. Afterwards, there will be some time to explore charming Kaysersberg at our leisure before visiting Domaine Marcel Deiss. Established after the Second World War by the grandfather of the current owner, Jean-Michel Deiss, it currently consists of 26 hectares spread over numerous sites in nine communes. After a number of years working organically, Deiss went fully biodynamic in 1998. We will be hosted here by the domaine’s sommelier, Monsieur Mercandelli, for an immersive tasting of their fabulous wines.
Starting out with a tour of Domaine Muré, we experience the wonderful wines that are produced here. The Muré family have been producing wines in the village of Rouffach since 1650 and, in 1935, Alfred Muré extended the property with the addition of 12 hectares in the Clos St Landelin. He replanted the terraces on the clos, which are now ideally situated with their sunny exposure and shelter from the rain. Following our visit here, we will conclude with a stunning lunch at Philippe Bohrer, which is arguably the best restaurant in the village of Rouffach. Our evening will be spent at leisure.
This morning we transfer back to Basel and take our return flight back home.
Beverley is an independent wine writer and Master of Wine based in London. She has written extensively for Decanter Magazine, and has also written books on a range of subjects. As well as Wine Guiding, she also lectures, judges and organises consumer tasting events.