Located in Orschwihr, halfway between Colmar and Mulhouse, since 1691.East part of France, near the Swiss and German boarders.
The 13 successive generations at the head of the winery always had at heart to produce high quality terroir wines, showcasing the slopes of the Bollenberg, the Clos Liebenberg, the Monopole of the family and the Grand Cru Pfingstberg.
In 1997, the whole winery was converted to biodynamic farming: sustainability, biodiversity development in our vineyards and orchards, creation of a virtuous circle, are our everyday motto.
1691 : after the 30 Years War Jodocus Cislé, a swiss winemaker, founder of the Zusslin Family, settled in Orschwihr with Barbara Vogel a young Alsatian lady. The love story began at that time and the Domaine never moved away.
After WW II : M. Valentin Zusslin 11th generation gave his name as a trade mark and it is still on the labels 80 years later.
1997 : Jean-Marie Zusslin his son converted the whole winery to biodynamic farming.
2000 : Marie & Jean-Paul Zusslin, 13th generation of the Zusslin family take over the winery
Many collaborations have been created with local farmers for the compost for example but also beehives, birdhouses…
2012 : Sesame, our draught horse, arrived at the Winery and started to work with us for various tasks.
2014 : distillation got bigger at the winery with the purchase of an Holstein still.
2020 : development of agroforestry on two of our new plots
– ECOCERT SAS FRANCE
– BIODYVIN www.biodyvin.com
– International biodynamic wine growers association (SIVCBD)
– Member of “Return to Terroir” Association. www.Biodynamy.com
At Domaine Valentin Zusslin, grapes are only hand-picked every year, to make sure sorting and selection of the best and healthier grapes are always made.
Everything is brought back to the cellar in small cases (of around 20kg in order to avoid compaction and trituration that could be sources of unwanted flavors), where they are sorted once again if needed. Pinot Noir are always sorted three times when being picked and processed.
Grapes are then pneumatically pressed as slow and gentle as we can, most of the time for over 10 hours. This type of pressing allows us to get high quality musts. Our cellar is built in half stories which make possible not to use a single pump before the beginning of fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation is spontaneous and is made only using wild yeasts already present on the grapes. We don’t use any selected yeasts or any other oenological products.
Each terroir is vinified separately and then blended, if necessary, before bottling.
At the cellar (foudres, big wooden vats made of vosgian oak), wines are aged on fine lees up to over two years depending on the balance we were looking for. Foudres are a big help to have a constant and harmonious fermentation thanks to a slow oxygenation through the porosity of the wood, a good thermic isolation. Their oval shape is also a real advantage since it helps fermentation to find its own rhythm.
In order to offer wines that are as close to their terroirs as possible, we are doing our best not to interfere and mess with the natural process of fermentations and aging: no chemicals or oenological products are used. Only a small amount of sulfur is added before bottling and only if needed. Since 2018, we propose Wines without any added sulfur (Crémant, Pinot noir and some white cuvées as well). Wines are bottled after an ageing of 12 to over 24 months, and then kept in our cellar until they offer a full aromatic expression. Some wines are in our ageing cellar during more than 20 years and proposed in limited quantities.
The Bollenberg is one of the dry hill surrounding the city of Rouffach and 4 villages included Orschwihr.
Extraordinary rich in biodiversity, unique in Europe from the most part, it is the home of extremely rare fauna and flora.
On a pure geological point of view, the Bollenberg is composed of glacial deposit dating back from the Oligocene (glacial period : 23M years ago) and limestone part from torrential origins. Some of the marls you can find on the East side are of costal deposit origins. On the lower part of the hill you’ll also find loess.
Vineyard here grows in harmony with the surrounding nature.
Wildlife here is huge with many different birds all around:
In order to gather even more birds in our vineyard, we’ve installed over a hundred bird nests in our rows. Real hard workers, they are a big help to fight against bugs and pests. By doing so, they also bring energy and life, much needed to create a lively winery.
On the Bollenberg hill, you’ll also come across different types of lizards, and typical snails.
Bollenbergs flora is also extremely diverse, in between forest, scree, vineyard, moorland etc, and thriving especially since a big part of the hill has been protected thanks to a Natura 2000 zone.
Over 150 different varieties grow there : X, X, X… but the most famous plants are probably the Ophrys, a type of wild orchid.
Main terroir of the winery, we produce many different wines and a plot selection Crémant.
Only Grand Cru of our village, it also is the only Grand Cru we produce here at the winery. On this place, we have decided to focus on Riesling only.
Located in the North of Orschwihr, the Grand Cru Pfingstberg benefits of an ideal micro-climate: South-East orientation at around 300 meters high, it is protected from heavy rains by the highest summits of the Vosges surrounding it. An important forest sits on top of the terroir, helping this place to get enough water throughout the seasons.
Pretty steep in some place, its soil is made of marl, limestone and sandstone, but mainly sandstone.
Riesling has found a perfect place here: minerality, aromatic complexity thanks to their perfect ripeness. Speaking of ripeness, there are always late here, thanks to the cool climate. Every year, we finish harvesting in these plots.
The wines we produce there always have a particular personality: powerful, precise, deep, concentrated, vertical… Long lasting wines, the need to spend a few years in the bottle before being fully enjoyed. From 10 to 20 years of rest are necessary on the best vintages.
Monopoly of the Domaine Valentin Zusslin, the Clos Liebenberg is a group of plots of almost 4 ha, located on top of the Pfingstberg hill. The Clos Liebenberg is surrounded by wild hedges, stone walls and forest. It has a South-East orientation.
This terroir is the highest of the winery, at around 380 meters high. It offers a breathtaking view on the alsacian plain, he Black Forest and the Swizz Alps when the weather is clear.
Ground here is made of marl and sandstone. Surrounding forest helps to keep a good amount of water during the whole season and temperature are a bit lower compared to our other terroirs. Temperatures between day and night are quite important, which helps vines to increase the grapes acidity, their ripeness and their overall balance.
Clos Liebenberg’s wines have a tension and a distinctable elegance, typical of cool sandstone terroirs.
Completely away from all the other surrounding plots, we’ve tried our best to create here a total biodiversity and where biodynamic farming goes as far as possible.
Since 2008, a flock of sheep wander around the Clos during winter ; we’ve planted trees and orchard in and around the plots ; Sésame, our horse, helps us to plow during the season ; bee hives are installed during the spring and summer ; birdhouses and bat-houses have been installed in and around the rows to bring a natural predation against pests and bugs. All this together helps us to enjoy a lively place, full of good vibrations and energies that we are trying to express in our bottles through a minimalist vinification.
Looking forward the creation of the “Premier Cru” appellation in Alsace and with the constant will of showcasing our terroirs in the purest way, we’ve started to vinify and bottle two distinct terroirs in the Bollenberg : the Luft and the Neuberg.
The Luft is a small group of plots, located on the West side of the hill, exposed to the afternoon sun. Its ground is made of limestone and is topped with 80cm of clay. This layer of clay helps to keep enough moisture in the ground for the vines to feed themselves. This place is also a bit windier which helps to prevent temperature to go too high during the summer. The Winery produces a Pinot Noir in extremely limited quantities on this terroir.
The Neuberg is a small group of plots, located on the top East side of the Bollenberg hill. Extremely dry limestone terroir since there is less than 40 cm of clay on this place. It is surrounded by the moorlands, typical and protected landscape of the hill. Morning sun helps to have a more efficient photosynthesis and to get ripper grapes. Because of its typicity, it’s probably the most representative place of the Bollenberg.
« Leur travail est exemplaire. Ils ont a cœur de préserver le biotope d’Orschwihr, entouré de réserves naturelles. »
REVUE DU VIN DE FRANCE
« Sans doute la plus belle progression qualitative de toute l’Alsace depuis une quinzaine d’années. »
« Leurs vins sont autant de sommets alsaciens »
« une biodynamie intelligente et appliquée»
Guide Bettane et Desseauve
« Sur un très joli vignoble, ils forment un duo passionné, charismatique et soucieux du travail bien accompli. »
GUIDE DES MEILLEURS VINS DE France
« capacité à sortir, millésime après millésime des vins épatants. Fers de lance de la nouvelle Alsace, ils sont aussi l’un des plus beaux exemples des changements entrepris par toute une région.
«at the helm of this vineyard.»
Wine revolution – Jane Anson
« Un jour, j’ai goûté ce pinot Noir (Harmonie 13) et j’en suis tombé raide dingue. J’ai été voir comment ça se passait sur le coteau alsacien et j’ai été subjugué… des gens drôles et sympathiques avec des convictions non négociables mais sans en faire des tonnes. »
« le pinot noir d’Alsace quand il donne des leçons à tout le monde »
Nicolas de Rouyn
« L’excellent Domaine Valentin Zusslin,… de la finesse et de l’élégance à revendre, une bulle classe et discrète, et une belle partition aromatique …(Clos Liebenberg Crémant). »
YAM – Carnet vin
« Ce Crémant (clos Liebenberg) boxe dans une très grosse catégorie… nous sommes ici en pleine gastronomie »
M LE MONDE