Parcel Names, Slopes, and Locations: On the southern slope of the Scharrachbergheim hill, between 250-300 m in altitude
• Soil Types and Compositions: The Engelberg is geologically isolated from the surrounding Vosges foothills, and has ooli- tique limestone deposits in limestone-clay soils.
• Vine Age, Training, and Density: 30 years old, double guyot, 5,500 vines/ha
• Average Yields: 50 hl/ha
• Average Harvest Date and Type: Exclusively manual (one of the few in the Bas-Rhin). Harvest ranges from August-September.
In The Cellar:
• Fermentation: Spontaneous, in stainless-steel tank. Cuvaison lasts 2-3 weeks.
• Pressing: Pneumatic, whole-cluster direct pressing
• Time on Lees: 12 months
• Malolactic Fermentation: Spontaneous, in stainless-steel tank • Élevage: 12 months in neutral barriques
• Press Wine: Ferments with free-run juice
• Fining and Filtration: Unfined, plate filtered
• Sulfur: Small dose of sulfur prior to fermentation to guard against volatile acidity and a small dose at bottling. c. 70 mg/l total.
In The Glass:
While the expected notes of roasted apples, caramal, and spice emerge on both the wine's nose and palate, the Engelberg Pinot Gris is equally gripping in its freshness, balanced acidity, and sa- line mineral backbone.
Jean-Marie Bechtold is the fourth generation to steward this traditional domaine. He began working with his father in 1980 and took the reins in 1995. The estate is located in Dahlenheim, west of Strasbourg in the slopes of the “Couronne d’Or”, a region with 2000 years of viticultural history.Among its 12 hectares of vineyards, the domaine has impressive holdings in the Grand Cru “Engelberg” site, complemented by parcels in three other vineyards: “Sussenberg”, “Obere Hund” and “Silberberg”. The most important vineyard of the village is the Grand Cru “Engelberg”, a hill rich in limestone that is famed for producing wines of elegance and structure. It has long been revered in the region and there is a mention of the Engelberg site in the main cathedral in Strasbourg, a reference dating to 890 A.D. Domaine Bechtold is the only organic grower in Dahlenheim and Jean-Marie Bechtold is currently making the conversion to biodynamic viticulture.
Jean-Marie believes vinification and elevage must be approached as a parent raises a child: with patience, spirited attention and understanding of particular needs. He minimizes intervention during the vinification to allow the wines to express their own character and to remain faithful to the vintage. Virtually all fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks with the objective of capturing the fresh acidity and typical dry style of the region. The style is light, pure and elegant. The wines have a silky structure without being soft and they are complex without being overwhelming; they offer classic examples of the flavor and structure that defines this special terroir … cool, refined, dignified.
-Rosenthal Wine Merchant