2010 Domaine Marcel Diess, Mambourg Grand Cru, Vin d’Alsace, France.
The Marcel Diess Mambourg Grand Cru is one of the world’s best and most intriguing white wines, it is a unique single vineyard field blend that is made from mostly Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, though it is rumored to have a tiny amount of other varietals, which may include some Pinot Meunier as well as Beurot, an extremely rare grape. Jean-Michel Diess, who is the proprietor of this famous estate that was founded just after WWII in 1947, along with a few others, like Marc Tempe, led a small revolution, bucking the modern Alsace system, away from mono varietal Alsace whites and focusing on individual terroirs along with holistic farming that was based on Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic principals to build healthy soils and promoting a natural energy in his wines. He also put a huge effort into plant density and small yields to bring out stunning depth and concentration, which really shows in his legacy of amazing wines and continues today with wines like this fantastic 2010 Mambourg Grand Cru Alsace Blanc which shows intense dry extract and dense layers of white peach, apple, lemon curd, quince and passion fruit along with spearmint, clove, pecan oil and jasmine as well as a touch of salinity, wet chalk, orange peel and a mineral element. This wine builds on the medium bodied palate impressively and its quality is somehow much more than the sum of its parts, making the type of grapes almost utterly beside the point here, this is a soulful expression of place and just maybe the absolute greatest wine I’ve tried from Alsace that didn’t have Riesling on the label! Air brings out texture, aromatic floral tones and depth in this Mambourg giving this gorgeous wine a palate impact that few wines can achieve, this is golden/straw colored wine easily sits with world’s legendary white wines. The climate in the Alsatian region is characterized as continental and is warmer than commonly thought with loads of long sunny days to go with chilly nights, though quite harsh during the winter months, in fact in certain parts it’s considerably dry with only a tiny amount of rain during the growing season. This wine will require some luck and money to get your hands on, sorry about that, but as we get into the holidays I just had to mention this rare beauty, because it is a fantastic bottle to celebrate everything we are grateful for.
The Mambourg Alsace Blanc, a stellar hand crafted effort, saw a very slow whole cluster pressing, in fact in usual vintages can be close to 12 hours with incredible attention to detail and careful sorting of the bunches, with all natural, spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation before being aged in mostly used barrels for a full 12 months. The Diess Grand Crus are all age worthy efforts, especially their Schoenenbourg Grand Cru, Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru and Mambourg Grand Cru offerings, they join an elite list of top Alsace wines in collectable appeal, and while quite pricy at first glance, these wines are worth every bit of change in your wallet and no more than wines of this quality in the great regions of the world and maybe even more tasty. The winery notes, that this vineyard sight has the highest density of all their plantings, adding, this site, which overlooks the village of Sigolsheim, sits on hillside with excellent exposure and is typically the earliest of their Grand Crus to ripen. Mambourg’s reputation dates back to the Middle Ages, when it belonged to the monasteries and feudal lords, who over the centuries cherished this vineyard, which is set on mineral rich limestone and hardened clay soils and made it one of the area’s most coveted. This rich and powerful Mambourg, like white Burgundy and top Grosses Gewachs finished at around 14% natural alcohol and benefits from a decade of cellaring as well as well thought out pairing, though it does have the flexibility to go with an array of cuisine choices, including honey baked ham, poultry dishes and creamy cheeses. Now, Domaine Marcel Diess is run by Mathieu Deiss with the help of his wonderfully rebellious father Jean-Michel, and the wines seem to be getting even better with every release throughout the range. I was privileged to have met and tasted the wines with Mathieu a few years back in San Francisco, and it was one of most memorable experiences in white wine I’ve had, his collection is not to be missed, with this Mambourg being an absolute stand out. The estate is 100% organic and now completely certified biodynamic by Demeter, and everything is done with total commitment to preserving a bond between man and the environment, this a winery to keep an eye on if you are looking for something extra special and one to save some pennies for! Not many wines have this level of joy, it is exceptional stuff and in its prime maturity, 2010 wasn’t just good for Bordeaux and Barolo, it was great here too in Alsace, with this Deiss proving structured to go another decade.
($125 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive