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Alsace Gewurztraminer Bergheim "Reserve", Sylvie Spielmann 2012


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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. Sylvie vinifies naturally, fermenting with natural yeasts and without any additives, except for a minimal dose of sulfites before bottling. As a result, her wines expressive with with palpable depth and minerality.

In Bergheim, the Engelgarten vineyard site has fast-draining, gravelly soils that 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.

The 2012 Gewurztraminer from Engelgarten comes from vines that average 30 years old. This dry Gewurztraminer is gorgeously scented offering rich layers of exotic flavors with stunning purity and freshness. Not easy to lay off this wine, especially with rich, spicy winter food.