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Chapoutier to release first Alsace wines

Rhone veteran Michel Chapoutier is about to release his first Alsace Riesling in the UK.

Chapoutier is one of the most renowned producers in the Rhone, producing a wide range of biodynamic wines from Crozes Hermitage to Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Berry Bros describes the Chapoutier Sélections Parcellaires as ‘some of the most celebrated and rare wines in the entire Rhône Valley’.

Chapoutier’s Alsace venture – Schieferkopf (literally, slate topped) – is a joint venture between Chapoutier and four friends, none of whom are wine professionals.

The five (the ‘Club des Cinq’) bought a 5ha domaine in Bernardvillé, whose vineyards, at 380m among the highest in Alsace, have ‘unique schist soils giving poise and austerity to wines with high minerality’ – ideal for Riesling, his agents Mentzendorff say.

The vineyard is fully biodynamic, with handpicking in small bins and gentle pressing. The wine is matured on lees for several months in traditional foudres.

The wines – as well as five Rieslings, there will be a Pinot Gris and a Sylvaner – will be tasted in the UK for the first time in April and will be released in the same month.

The wines are all 2009s and consist of a Pinot Gris and a Sylvaner, Riesling 2009, Alsace Grand Cru Wiebelsberg 2009, Alsace Grand Cru Kastelberg 2009, Alsace Lieu-Dit Buehl 2009 (Selection Parcellaire), and Alsace Lieu-Dit Fels 2009 (Selection Parcellaire).

Mentzendorff describe Lieu-Dit Buehl as ‘a masculine style of Riesling with an intense fruit core and ample acidity’.

From a 1.2ha plot on southfacing slopes on blue schist, it is fermented using natural yeasts and matured over 15 months in large casks.

Lieu-Dit Fels is from a plot of 0.8ha at a higher altitude than Buehl. The treatment is exactly the same as for Buehl ‘but in this wine there is a finer, more intense minerality.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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