During my preparations for the 2010 Alsace trip I made contact with Thierry Meyer, without a doubt the most active and knowledgeable Alsace wine writer today, for tips on the not yet "discovered" producers. He suggested me to contact Henry Fuchs in Ribeauvillé, whose sign I've seen 100's of times and drove past the same number of times.
The Fuchs family took up viticulture in 1922, and has just gone through a generational change. The vineyards and wine-making is now administered by Paul Fuchs, who is fourth generation, having taken over after his parents Henry and Cathy. Paul has been trained in, among other regions, New Zealand and has since the mid-2000's been devoted to organic farming and production of dry, rich wines.
The domaine covers 10 hectares of with the distribution: Riesling 2.9 ha, Gewurztraminer 2.1 ha, Pinot Gris 1.9 ha , Pinot Blanc/Auxerrois 1.2, Sylvaner 0.8 ha, Pinot Noir 0.7 and Muscat 0.4 ha. Paul Fuchs is particularly proud of his Pinot Noir, which is grown on the Grand Cru Kirchberg. This sunny, dry and well drained position allows Pinot Noir to mature properly and gives - in Fuchs' version called "Rouge comme Renard" in allusion to the German word for fox, "fuchs", which is "renard" in French - an aromatic and spicy wine with body, colour and ripe tannins.
Paul Fuchs seeks to minimise the sugar content in his wines. In general, this may cause some green notes (if harvest is too early) or dangerously high alcohol levels (if fermentation is run too far), but Paul handles the balancing act well.
Henry Fuchs has a clear market segmentation of his wines in which the middle segment includes three wines: Riesling Equinoxe, Pinot Gris Tzigane and Gewurztraminer l'Ambroisie. All these wines are very high class, not least in relation to their price. Behind each name their is a clear statement, for example, Riesling Equinoxe suggests a wine that is cool, balanced (equilibré) and stored in tanks made of stainless steel (inox). Even the classic "entry-level wines" is very good indeed.
Henry Fuchs is an exciting domain, so search out the firm with the red fox. You will not regret it!
Last visit: 2010