The Schoech family can trace its roots in the vineyards of Ammerschwihr back to 1650. Artifacts from their heritage are on proud display in their cellar in the village of Ammerschwihr. The current estate was established in 1971 on the edge of the village and retains the name Maurice Schoech, although today the domaine is run by his sons, Jean-Léon and Sebastien Schoech.
The estate produces 25 different cuvées from 11 hectares of vines, 70% of which are located in prime hillside locations and harvested manually. All of the parcels are in and around Ammerschwihr except for one 0.5 ha plot in the famed Rangen de Thann vineyard, which is 15km south of the village. Including this little gem, a total of four hectares are planted in Grand Cru vineyards, with about 2.5 hectares in Kaefferkopf and 1 hectare in Mambourg.
The renown of the Kaefferkopf vineyard can be traced back to 1832, when the first bottles bearing its name were produced. It was not designated “Grand Cru” until 2007, when it became the 51st vineyard in Alsace to receive this classification. It is one of only two Grand Cru vineyards where a blend of grape varieties is permitted, along with the Altenberg site in Bergheim. The domaine’s Rangen de Thann plot is, in fact, planted to Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Riesling; the wine is a blend of those varieties and therefore the wine is not labeled Grand Cru, bearing simply the proprietary name “Harmonie R” instead.
|Cotes d’Ammerschwihr: is harvested from hillside vineyards situated at the beginning of the valley that leads to the village of Les Trois Epis. This wine is primarily Pinot Blanc with a touch of Muscat … a fine, elegant wine of great value.|
|Pinot Auxerrois Vielles Vines: accounts for over 10% of the domaine’s production in most vintages and is the first parcel harvested each fall. The vines are all in excess of 35 years of age. The cepage is not actually a Pinot; its origins have been traced to the Mosel; it can also be referred to simply as ‘Auxerrois’. The skin has a slightly bitter note, thus pressing is very light to minimize this element. A dry wine, it often carries at most 8-9 grams of residual sugar.|
|Riesling Sonnenberg: is sourced from a group of old-vine ‘selection massale’ parcels on a south-facing granite slope in the Sonnenberg lieu-dit.|
Riesling Grand Cru Kaefferkopf: comes from two parcels in ideal locations, with one in granitic soils and the other in sandstone. An intensely mineral wine, the roots penetrate into deep hillside faults thus sourcing the multiple geologic striations, yielding a wine of exceptional character and complexity.
|Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Kaefferkopf: boasts sources on three of the six hills of Kaefferkopf, allowing it to show the depth and complexity of this grand vineyard site. The clay and granite soils yield a wine of elegance and power, with excellent length on the slightly smoky finish.|
|Pinot Gris Grand Cru Mambourgis: produced from steep, south-facing slopes; it is a wine of opulence, with rich fruit that seems to lift off the palate on a mineral base. The deep color, compelling nose and satisfying balance truly affect the senses and can be explored on their own or with rich foods.|
|Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum: In 2015, Schoech acquired .2 hectares of Riesling in this coveted Grand Cru located in Kientzheim, in the heart of the Valley of Kaysersberg. The soil composition of Furstentum is essentially limestone based, instead of the granitic rock, for example, found in the Grand Cru Kaefferkopf. The vineyard of Furstentum is south facing with superb exposure to the sun and the vines sit on a steep slope with a 37% angle that offers excellent drainage. Forceful but elegant and intensely aromatic, the Furstentum is broad on the palate, with a clean citrus toned minerality providing a searingly dry and persistent finish – a wonderful and particularly age worthy companion to an already impressive duo of Rieslings produced at the Domaine Schoech.|
|Harmonie R Rangen de Thannis: a blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer reflected through the lens of volcanic rock. A nod to the traditions of the region, the vines are co-planted in a true field blend at a higher than normal density. The steep slope requires a winch to assist with the ploughing. This is a wine of concentration and intensity in all its elements: acidity, minerality, color, fruit. There is virtually no residual sugar, allowing the full effect of the soil to be felt on the palate.|
These regions, often but not always peripheral to the countries in which they find themselves, harness their historical and cultural tensions to produce some of the greatest, most intriguing wines that we at RWM have the pleasure to include in our portfolio.
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For those enraptured by terroir, perhaps no region in France holds a greater capacity for wonderment than Alsace. Not even Burgundy, with its immensely intricate patchwork of subtly varying Jurassic limestone, can approach Alsace’s geological complexity. We consumers often think of Alsace first and foremost in terms of grape variety; after all, nearly all of