Since the VIII century, the abbeys of the region have had vines in the vineyard of Wolxheim. J.L. Stoltz, a historian of Alsatian vineyards in the XIX century, noted that: "Riesling was not found in the Alsace Region before the revolution except in a few privileged enclosed fields, such as Altenberg, on the edge of Wolxheim.” Napoleon III had Riesling of Wolxheim delivered by the sculptor Philippe Grass, a native of Wolxheim.
Our plots are located in the lower area of the Grand Cru. A slight slope, but the exposure is full south with the land sloping toward the West, providing sunshine up to the last rays of the sun. These particularly favourable conditions allow grapes to reach full maturity easily each year, sometimes without this even being sought, slightly overripe.
The marly soil is heavy but the limestone rock is only at a depth of one metre, allowing good water reserves to be maintained and providing good drainage because vines do not like too much water. Finally, these soils are naturally rich in mineral elements.
All this allows the vine and particularly the Riesling vine variety, to flourish fully.
In recent years, the vintages have been very contrasting, sometimes fresh, sometimes hot, even blistering hot.
The years 08, 10, 12 and 13 were fresh with grapes harvested in mid-October. Nevertheless, they reached nice levels of ripeness and did not need any sugar added (chaptalisation). These vintages yield wines of high purity, marked by finesse and aromatic complexity combining citrus and mineral notes. The ripe, full and complex acidity is the backbone of these wines with intense and subtle body and bouquet with a long-lasting finish.
Conversely, the years 07, 09 and 11 were often harvested near the end of September, rich in grape sugar content nearly or in excess of 14% potential volume. At these levels of maturity, the purposes of fermentation are often difficult to achieve and thus the wines retain some residual sugars. These wines are strong and muscular but in the end, there is still some acidity. With ageing, the influence of the vintage is somewhat attenuated and the gaps narrow. The acidity and minerality become the dominant characters of these wines.
Grand Cru Altenberg of Wolxheim 2012 Riesling Cuvee Joseph
Grade : 90/100 in the DVE dec. 2014 Guide
"Clear, brilliant, light yellow colour with green tints. Fine nose with good evolution. Start with notes of white fruits (apple and wine peach), combined with citrus touches. After that come mineral touch, very caracteristic from the variety (stony and smoky) The mouth is full with a good volume,which is carried by a beautiful acidity. With the
evolution, one has a fine and smooth structure which an engraved freshness and a setting in front of
the minerality. The wine is powerfull but good balanced by a nice acidity. Very nice ageing potential. " (Comments in the DVE dec. 2014 Guide)
Food and wine pairing : Fish in sauce, tasty dishes, soft pressed cheeses...
Alcoholic content : 13 %
Ageing : At least 10 years. For drinking from the end of 2014
Serve : 10°c.