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Alsace Riesling Engelgarten Bergheim, Domaine Sylvie Spielmann 2009


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Engelgarten's fast-draining, gravelly soils stress vines. In Alsace's dry climate, the vines are besieged through September. Their roots dig deep to find moisture and nutrients. For defensive measures, production is abandoned except for a select bunches of grapes. A few years planted on Engelgarten would put hair on a vine's chest. Sylvie Spielmann's Riesling vines on Engelgarten are 52 years-old by the time they produced this superb 2009 Riesling Engelgarten. It is already drinking lovely, open, with aromas of white flowers and citrus. It will evolve and provide drinking pleasure over many more years.

Sylvie Spielmann took over her family's 8 hectare vineyard in Bergheim in the mid-1990s after training at wineries in Burgundy, California (Bonny Doon) and Australia. She converted the vineyards to organic and biodynamic farming. The land has been with her family for centuries, and was a former gypsum quarry during the Crimean War. The soils are rich gypsum marl that produces intense, full-bodied wines.