Stephen Meuse’s stellar review of Domaine Marcel Deiss in the Boston Globe points not only to the care and finesse with which Mathieu Deiss and his father, Jean-Michel, make their handful of Premier and Grand Cru wines, but the extraordinary lengths they go in creating a transparent vision of their vineyards.
“If you’ve never encountered the wines of Domaine Marcel Deiss, you needn’t be embarrassed…You’re most likely to discover a Deiss wine at a restaurant wherethe presence of one or two is enough to tip you off that someone is taking the wine list very seriously indeed — and isn’t afraid to step off the well-worn path in pursuit of something extraordinary.
“The family markets some varietal wines, but their top wines are all ‘field blends,’ meaning wine made from some or all of these varietals, planted together in a single vineyard, then harvested, pressed, and fermented en masse.
“Complantation, as it’s called in French, is traditional in Alsace, but it’s been largely abandoned during the last fifty years in favor of the one vineyard-one varietal model.
Since the wines are all spectacularly delicious, showing a finesse, balance, and a kind of chromatic richness that can only be wondered at, you may assume that field blending was undertaken with just this end in mind — but it’s more complicated than that.
Chez Deiss, complantation is a means of demonstrating the power of certain exceptionally talented vineyards to shape the character of the wine produced from them, regardless of what varietals are in play. In this schema, riesling and pinot gris (for example) are little more than the stationery upon which messages in the language of Englegarten, Grasberg, Mambourg, etc. are imprinted. It’s the message that matters, not the paper.”
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