Valentin Zusslin 2014 "Clos Liebenberg" Monopole Riesling, Alsace, France
Valentin Zusslin 2014 "Clos Liebenberg" Monopole Riesling, Alsace
Riesling is an obsession for DECANTsf. We are in Alsace, France, a region whose Riesling is known as world-class but can be forgotten about due to the historically famous rieslings of Germany of Austria. But Alsace is the driest and sunniest wine-growing region in all of France, and the *only* region where Riesling is king. Located on the eastern side of the Vosges Mountains, almost all rain clouds get caught by the mountain peaks and dump their moisture on the western side. This means blue skies over Alsace and a long, slow growing season.
In 1997, sister and brother duo Marie & Jean-Paul Zusslin converted their entire family estate to biodynamic viticulture. Biodynamics refers to a sort of “ultra-organic” agriculture, where biodiversity in both the flora and fauna around the vines is at top of mind. Nothing artificial or synthetic is used in the vineyard- whatever comes out is composted and goes back in. Clos Liebenberg is a monopole vineyard, meaning the Zusslins own it completely and are the only ones to make wine from it, and here, a flock of sheep graze all winter long, which naturally weeds (and fertilizes) the vineyards, and keeps pests at bay. Since 2012, Sesame, a beautiful horse, has been a master at plowing and carrying a cart over these vineyards that machinery does not touch. To some, this may seem like a lot of work in our modern age, but we must remember that this family estate was originally founded in 1691, long before anything but the beating heart of the earth set the rules. The Zusslin siblings do not fine or filter their wines, nor add any cultured yeast or an abundance of sulfur.
Everything starts in the vineyard, so by the time this riesling gets to barrel and then bottle, everything is right where it is supposed to be. The vines are planted, trained, pruned, and picked according to the cycles of the cosmos. At Zusslin, the health of the vineyard and the rhythm of nature guides the winemaking. Clos Liebenberg’s wines have a tension and a distinctive elegance, typical of cool sandstone terroirs. This is pure Riesling.
- Certified Organic by Biodyvin
- Certified Organic by Ecocert
- Certified Biodynamic by Demeter
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