Located on the dizzying heights of the hills of Guebwiller in southern Alsace, with slopes reaching 50 degrees at an altitude ranging from 250 to 390 meters, the family's mountainside vineyard is one of the most breathtaking in Alsace.
Guebwiller is the only town in Alsace producing four grands crus. Grands crus make up roughly half of Domaines Schlumberger’s vineyards, with 172 acres designated as grand cru: Kitterlé, Kessler, Saering and Spiegel. This makes the family the largest grand cru vineyard holder in Alsace. 75% of the vines are planted on very steep, terraced slopes, requiring horses to be used for field work. The vines stretch for 35 miles in horizontal rows of terraced vineyards.
The family's grands crus portray, from year to year, the ancient memory of the stones of the land. The Vosges sandstone, on the edge of the mountain, produces subtle nuances: plots located only a few meters from each other can produce very different wines.
The “Alsace Grand Cru” appellation gathers the 51 best Alsatian terroirs. This classification appeared in 1983 by the “Institut National des Appellations d’Origine” (INAO) based on similar qualitative criteria to those applied to Burgundy: geology, exposure and microclimate. In 1983, only 25 had been defined, including the four located in Guebwiller (25 other grands crus were established in 1992).
Domaines Schlumberger proudly bears the colors of these exceptional terroirs.
Grand Cru Vineyards
Saering | 50 acres under ownership
Like a peninsula on the plain, this calcareous block is isolated in a universe of sandstone and granite. Nature favured the Saering grand cru, a hillside of heavy and fertile soils set on limestone subsoil which discerns it from its Guebwiller neighbors, but with whom it shares an impressive intermingling of small walls. Saering faces the east and south-east at an altitude between 260 and 300 metres. The parcels are delimited by a network of dry-stone walls, incessantly restored for over 250 years according to the various means of the time.
Kitterlé | 50 acres under ownership
Regardless of the varietals present on this terroir, the sandstone-volcanic, light and sandy soil of Kitterlé only gives a rather limited yield, stimulating a great concentration of aromas—ideal for cellar-worthy wines. This colossal rocky area which outlines an overhand on the Unterlinger massif, has various exposures (south, southeast and southwest) absorbing sunrays from sunrise to sunset. Man-made dry stone walls sit upon these often 45°-slanted steep slopes, perfectly espousing the soil variations and know-how. The only vineyard work possible here is on terraces.
Spiegel | 12 acres under ownership
Like a mirror reflecting the sun on its grapes, this East-facing terroir extends on the middle of the hillside. Located between Guebwiller and the neighboring village of Bergholtz, its sandy soils cover a malry-sandstone base. On an average slope between 260 and 315m, it faces east. One can find both fresh and succulent wines, almost subtle, as well as sweet, complex and fleshy ones. A carefully calculated and angular freshness appear to be the distinctive feature of this cru, especially when it slips into juicy and delicious wines.
Kessler | 54 acres under ownership
The hilly curves outlining Kessler, ranging from 300 to 390 meters, protect the vineyards from harsh weather and offer a warm and aerated setting. A sweetness which can be compared to the mineral intensity nestled deep in the soil. The Kessler grand cru vineyard is shaped like a basin sheltered from the cold winds which blow along the Guebwiller Valley. The dry stones form an unmistakeable tie between the neighboring grands crus of Saering, Spiegel and Kitterlé. The blend of sand with heavier scree and its steep slope stimulate the production of wines full of character.