Established in 1691 by M. Jodocus CISLE (former name of Zusslin), Domaine Valentin ZUSSLIN is now run by two generations of the Zusslin family who are following in the footsteps of their forbears.
The winery is based in Orschwihr, south of Colmar, and the vines are planted on the slopes of the Bollenberg, Clos Liebenberg and Grand Cru Pfingstberg.
In 1997 the domaine converted to biodynamic viticulture. Much of the work in the vineyard and in the cellar is done by hand, in order that the grapes can express the full potential of the unique terroirs of the Domaine.
– ECOCERT SAS FRANCE
– DEMETER the trademark for products from Biodynamic® production
– BIODYVIN www.biodyvin.com
– International biodynamic wine growers association (SIVCBD)
– Member of “Return to Terroir” Association. www.Biodynamy.com
At Domaine Valentin Zusslin, the ripe grapes are hand-harvested with multiple passages through the vineyard. They are placed in traditional wooden tubs or small crates to avoid bruising. The crop also undergoes a second strict and manual selection. Immediately after, the clusters are slowly and gently pressed for several hours. The result is a must of very high quality.
The juice is then transferred by gravity control to tanks. In the vats the alcoholic fermentation takes place naturally with indigenous yeasts. The wines age in traditional large oak casks from the Alsace Vosges mountains and are left on their fine lees for up to two years. The oval-shaped barrel ensures the smooth and harmonious maturation of each cuvee.
The wine is bottled after twelve to twenty- four months of ageing and stored in a temperature controlled cellar until it expresses its full potential. At the Domaine, the wines are released only when they are ready for immediate consumption or for additional cellaring. We do not interfere during the fermentation and the ageing of our wines. We do not use any synthetic chemicals or treatments. A very low dose of sulfur before bottling is used to preserve some of the wines, not all. Some of our wines are 100% NATURAL: no chemicals, no added sulfites, no ad- ditives, just 100% GRAPES – it seems so logical! Our philosophy is to respect nature, the environment, the seasons and the natural process of winemaking. This process creates pleasurable wines full of vitality.
This vineyard belongs to the famous “Landes Seches” (dry moorland) above Rouffach, an extraordinary area rich in biodiversity, with some unique flora and fauna. The soil is composed of clay and limestone but as well rich in iron minerals such as the hematite. Thus explaining the reddish-brown color on almost the whole vineyard. This ancient site contains deposits dating from the Oligocene period around 23 million years ago.
The calcareous parts (conglomerates) are of torrential origin. The marly parts on the east side come from marine deposits. On the east side (planted with Pinot Noir, Muscat and some Riesling) there is also loess, a rich powdery soil deposited during the Ice Age. The grapevine thrives here.
As for the fauna, there is no lack of wildlife on this dry hill. Among the common birds there is yellow bunting, which nests in the bushes and the vines, linnet, skylark and hoopoe, as well as lizard and the stripy snail, Bulimus Radiatus.
This area is a paradise for photographers and botanists, who come from all over Europe. Many different species of butterflies have their home here and over 150 plants : orchids, wild carnations, vineyard tulips, grape hyacinths, star of Bethlehem and many more bloom in this magical place.
The Bollenberg soil is particularly suited for Pinot Noir. In Alsace, Pinot Noir is the only permitted red grape variety and accounts for 12% of our own vineyard. Rigorous selection of the best grapes enables our family estate to produce a wine of great concentration with ripe red fruit aromas.
The mineral rich calcareous soil is also suited for our Riesling, giving it a striking palette of aromas, a good structure with pronounced minera- lity when young and great aging potential. Early in the morning, we often have dew, sun and wind in the after- noon: these are the perfect conditions for development of the noble rot. All of our Gewurztraminer & Muscat late harvest and botrytis-affected grapes come from the Bollenberg.
The Grand Cru Pfingstberg benefits from an ideal micro-climate: South- Southeast orientation, 300 meters (900 feet) high, protected from the rain and winds by the Vosges mountains. The Riesling is perfectly suited here in this ancient terroir formed over millions of years. A terroir whose mineral com- ponents confer enormous aromatic complexity to the wines.
This Grand Cru accounts for over 10% of the total 220 ha (543 acres) of Orschwihr’s vineyards.
The soil is made of clay and sandstone. The vineyard is so steep that it is neces- sary to build terraces, reinforced by sandstone walls.
« Un joli tri confère à ce grand cru un confit qui ne bascule pas dans l’exubérance. La bouche se révèle à la fois dense et serrée. Sa belle acidité et sa plaisante fraîcheur lui donnent relief et persistance »
The reputation of the Pfingstberg dates back from 1299, when the knight Richard of Epfig gifted it to the Unter- linden Convent.
Valentin Zusslin, our grandfather, plan- ted this vineyard in the 50’s, knowing that Riesling would be in perfect har- mony with this particular terroir.
A monopoly of the Zusslin family. Clos Liebenberg (or the “lovely hill”) sits on 3.5 ha (8,7 acres) of slopes facing Southeast, right on the edge of the Grand Cru Pfingstberg. It is planted with Riesling on terraces.
This unique place is completely en- closed by hedges and stone walls. It creates a perfect microcosm with a rich biodiversity.
In 2003, we started using horses again to work the vineyards and since Februa- ry 2012, Sesame, a Comtoise carthorse, joined the Zusslin team.
The result of our growing method and careful selection is a wine with great complexity, elegance, power and con- centration. On the palate, it is focused and straight. The final has a pronounced acidity with a pleasant freshness that gives depth and persistence.
For us it is at a level of a Grand Cru.
The best wine for your party ! As an aperitif, or with sushi, sashimi, oysters, grilled fish, sole, trout, caviar, terrine etc.
Our refreshing and fruity blend, good everyday drinking with appetizers, salads, grilled prawns or a piece of Comté.
From old vines planted in the 50s by Valentin Zusslin in Clos Liebenberg. A wine with pronounced minerality, for salads, oysters and appetizers.
Pour l’apéritif et en accompagnement de desserts à base de fruits.
This Pinot Noir is a real delight with fried squid, mari- nated salmon, fish terrine, grilled sardines, mackerel, whitebait, Provence-style tuna, curried monkfish or with saffron, or serve it with red meat, roast poultry, grilled meats and vegetables, game, couscous, lamb tajine and all kinds of hard cheese.
Allié parfait des volailles, des viandes blanches, des mets en croûtes, des poêlées de champignons frais.
Ideal with fish (caviar, marinated, smoked or pan-fried salmon, fish terrine, blue trout, fish grilled or cooked in cream or Riesling sauce, grilled sardines, mackerel, whitebait, cod fillet, whiting, sole, squid) or with shell- fish (oysters, prawns, mussels, dressed crab, pan-fried scallops) or with sushi or sashimi.
The powerful, fruity and spicy aromas of Gewurztra- miner Bollenberg Prestige pair well with blue cheese, Munster, Maroilles, Pont- l’Evêque, Livarot. Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives (late harvest) goes best with hard, mature cheeses like aged Gouda, Comté, Parmesan, or, if you prefer a dry wine: Riesling Grand Cru Pfingstberg.
Very nice with roast poultry, veal, mushroom risotto, fondue chinoise, goat’s cheese, Chaource, cheese- cake. Hard or semi-hard cheese: Comté, Beaufort, Gruyère, Appenzeller.