Noah and Deiss, men of the soil

Domaine-Marcel-Deiss-Grasberg-2005-face

There are a lot of web pages devoted to Domaine Marcel Deiss and, in particular, to the iconoclasm of Jean-Michel Deiss, the son of the founder of this Bergheim winery. You can read it elsewhere; I wouldn’t presume that this little blog can improve on what’s been already said. Suffice it to say that J.M. believes in the soil’s importance in a wine’s character at least as much as – if not more than – the influence of a particular grape variety. Not unreasonable, you might think, but given that we’re talking about the Alsace wine region, where grape varieties have the primacy – well you can understand the controversy. The problem with controversy is that it’s inward-facing – so Richard and I are concentrating on the end product. A glass of wine.

Marcel Deiss 2005 Grasberg 1er cru (13%) is mainly Riesling, with Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer in supporting roles, but none of these grapes are mentioned on the labels.  It originally cost £32.50 from the Wine Society, current price £39. Grasberg has calcareous soil and this was from vines on a north facing site, which, I presume, give them a longer ripening period.

Deep golden in colour, clear and bright it had a lovely nose which gave off slight whiffs of petrol and honey. There were some high notes and, as Richard said, it is one of those wines you could sit and smell, rather than taste, all night. But we didn’t just do that. Almost reluctantly, we took the plunge.

The palate had a tingly acidity which balanced the honeyed flavours. I thought it tasted like ripe pineapples; the off-dry finish was very long indeed. It was a stunning cup of intense fruit – a pleasure to drink.

[Richard:classy drink (as was the previous one we tasted), just on the right side of dry – although Angie thought it was too sweet. Reading up on this grower made me wish we had visited his cave, instead of mixing him up with another Deiss.]

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