Domaine Bechtold

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Jean-Marie Bechtold is the fourth generation to steward this traditional domaine.  He began working  with his father in 1980 and took the reins in 1995.  The estate is located in Dahlenheim, west of Strasbourg in the slopes of the “Couronne d’Or”, a region with 2000 years of viticultural history.

Among its 12 hectares of vineyards, the domaine has impressive holdings in the Grand Cru “Engelberg” site, complemented by parcels in three other vineyards: “Sussenberg”, “Obere Hund” and “Silberberg”.  The most important vineyard of the village is the Grand Cru “Engelberg”, a hill rich in limestone that is famed for producing wines of elegance and structure.  It has long been revered in the region and there is a mention of the Engelberg site in the main cathedral in Strasbourg, a reference dating to 890 A.D.   Domaine Bechtold is the only organic grower in Dahlenheim and Jean-Marie Bechtold is currently making the conversion to biodynamic viticulture.

Jean-Marie believes vinification and elevage must be approached as a parent raises a child: with patience, spirited attention and understanding of particular needs.  He minimizes intervention during the vinification to allow the wines to express their own character and to remain faithful to the vintage. Virtually all fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks with the objective of capturing the fresh acidity and typical dry style of the region.  The style is light, pure and elegant. The wines have a silky structure without being soft and they are complex without being overwhelming; they offer classic examples of the flavor and structure that defines this special terroir … cool, refined, dignified.

Bechtol-Cremant-Label Domaine Bechtold Crémant:  The soul of raciness and finesse, this wine is equal parts Chardonnay and Auxerrois from the 2013 vintage, bottled with no dosage, and disgorged in May of 2015. Electric and citrusy, with the earthy depth of the Auxerrois grape coming through on the palate, and firm limestone-y minerality on the finish.
BECHTOLD PINOT GRIS CUVEE JOSEPH Pinot Gris Cuveé Joseph: is named for Jean-Marie’s grandfather and is a fine example of this powerful, spicy and structured variety… vinified dry.
Bechtold-Pinot-Gris-Engelberg Pinot Gris Silberberg: is from a lieu-dit, gravelly limestone in texture and composition,located just below the “Engelberg” vineyard, on the steep slopes surrounding the village of Dahlenheim.  It offers bountiful fruit both on the nose and palate accented softly with notes of spice.
BECHTOLD SUSSENBERG RIESLING Riesling Sussenberg: from another stellar site within the confines of Dahlenheim, shows a saline minerality and will age well for 10 years or more in a classic vintage.  “Sussenberg” translates to “Sugar Hill”, and while this wine carries discernable residual sugar, it does not present itself as sweet due to the racy acidity underlying the fruit.
BECHTOLD SILBERBERG GEWURZTRAMINER Gerwurztraminer Silberberg: offers compelling focus and clarity with a  lightness to the body that pleases the palate and is not often found with this forceful variety.  The typical exotic fruit notes associated with Gewurztraminer are present but the striking structure provides a discipline that steals the show.
BECHTOLD ENGELBERG RIESLING Riesling Grand Cru Engelberg: most often carries almost no residual sugar and is a wine destined for  cellaring.  It is a complete wine with all the complexities conveyed by the limestone soil, yet it requires several years to marry its fruit and minerality together and reach full potential.
Bechtold-Gewurztraminer-Engelberg Geweurztraminer Grand Cru Engelberg: shows textbook varietal character, with notes of sweetness and spice on a pedestal of vibrant structure.  The intense bouquet is married to the exuberance on the palate.  Powerful and seductive, this wine is a fine example of the greatness of Alsace and this fine lieu-dit.
BECHTOLD-ENGELBERG-PINOT-NOIR-OBERE-HUND Pinot Noir Obere Hund: ages in large oak barrels after fermentation and carries all the joy of this noble grape in a northern location.  The wine offers dry cherries and herbs on the nose, clarity and a purity of fruit on the palate, and a lasting savory impression in the finish.

In Praise of Alsace Riesling

For those enraptured by terroir, perhaps no region in France holds a greater capacity for wonderment than Alsace. Not even Burgundy, with its immensely intricate patchwork of subtly varying Jurassic limestone, can approach Alsace’s geological complexity. We consumers often think of Alsace first and foremost in terms of grape variety; after all, nearly all of […]

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