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Average critic rating : 89.0 points
Slightly marked by new-ish wood and its malolactic fermentation, Deiss’ 2004 Mambourg is strangely reserved in the nose, but palate-saturating in its rich, vanilla- and lanolin-tinged baked apple and peach fruit, and thoroughly infiltrated with vivid chalk. Dramatically mineral and intensely phenolic in finish, it would for that very reason seem somewhat austere, but in addition we are suddenly – for the first time in this entire collection – plunged into sheer dryness of low single-digit residual sugar! It’s not easy to give this wine its due, but I think what’s owed it above all is 2-3 years to see how well the wood integrates and whether some nuance will emerge. ||Jean-Michel Deiss has been growing some of the finest wines in Alsace for more than a quarter century and with them – as well as with his passionately articulate discourse – capturing the imagination and affection of wine enthusiasts world-wide. But the bearded sage of Bergheim is never satisfied, and beginning in the late eighties, he began to completely re-think his wines and means of truly embracing his terroirs. The result was new acquisitions and plantings to achieve (beginning a decade ago) single-vineyard, field-blend bottling the likes of which had scarcely been seen in Alsace for the better part of a century, and to certain of which the governing authorities have recently been persuaded (perhaps as much by Deiss’ metaphysics of terroir as by the profundity of his vinous results) to grant the status “Grand Cru.” Deiss’ special “vins de terroir” are released only after he judges them to have had sufficient time in bottle to being to show their personalities (with the 2005s only appearing in 2007). Two thousand five, incidentally, was one of the smallest harvests in this estate’s history, and fraught with difficulty, Deiss reports. Even with “varietally-“ labeled wines, Deiss can display unorthodoxy. Time only permitted me a too-brief taste of three from among Deiss’s recent nobly sweet releases, none of which one should even think about drinking for years. A 2004 Gewurztraminer V.T. from the Altenberg and Burg displayed pungent aromatics, great sweetness, and a tactile phenolic presence. I found the new wood on a 2005 Pinot Gris S.G.N. rather intrusive. And while there was no questioning the sheer concentration, viscosity, and sweetness of Deiss’ 2005 Gewurztraminer “Quintessence” – a wine selected berry-by-shriveled berry from the Altenberg and vinified in a tiny tank – it is never easy to judge such elixirs as wine even under the best of conditions. All things considered, I have elected to defer my responsibility for assessing the nobly sweet wines at this address for a later occasion. Wine Advocate.February, 2008
Jean-Michel Deiss, the revolutionary Alsace winemaker of Domaine Marcel Deiss, has single-handedly redefined the concept of terroir in Alsace by moving away from the post-war trend of single variety grands crus and replanting almost all his vineyards with multiple varieties - sometimes with up to a dozen different grape varieties. This approach coupled with biodynamic farming is, in Deiss' view, the best way to express the individual characteristics of his vineyards. David Schildknecht at the Wine Advocate is a firm believer, here is his view:Jean-Michel Deiss has been growing some of the finest wines in Alsace for more than a quarter of a century and with them has captured the imagination and affection of wine enthusiasts worldwide.”
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