A tasting at Rémy Gresser begins with that you get a map of Andlau with the domaines' vineyards and their geology. Because Andlau is perhaps the village with the most complex and varied geology of all 119 wine villages of Alsace, and Rémy Gresser allows the terroir to be expressed in an exemplary manner in all his wines.
What makes Andlau unique is the presence of schist. Schist is a rock that is has flakes and therefore it is normally brittle. In Andlau are two types of schist, both of which are very old, actually the oldest rocks in the entire Alsace, next to the granite of the Vosges. The Grand Cru Kastelberg's "Shiste the Steige" from the Silurian period is about 460 million years old. A little south, at Saint-André, where Gresser makes fantastic Pinot Blanc, we have "Schist de Villé" that dates from the Ordovician 500 million years ago. Schist is fractured, warm and well drained. Therefore, finding its roots and vines down to very great depths, and the grapes ripen with amazing finesse and aromatic richness.
It's very exciting to taste Gressers three Grands Crus next to each other. According to my - far too limited - experience, Weibelsberg gives Riesling with particularly subtle elegance, Moenchberg are classic and solid, while Kastelberg gives a distinctive complexity in an almost smoky style. Gressers different Lieux-dits also have great personality, where Brandhof give very fresh Muscat and different Pinot wines, while Kritt gives an airy and elegant Gewurztraminer.
Rémy Gresser has long experience as president of the organization CIVA, the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace, and has thus made huge efforts for Alsace. The members of CIVA are either individual producers, Negociants or cooperatives, and the presidency rotates between these groups of stakeholders. Rémy Gresser thus has much to tell about the business, including the structural and commercial aspects. By the way, CIVA also has counterparts in Champagne (CIVC), Burgundy (CIVB) and Roussillon (CIVR).
Rémy Gresser works organically and biodynamically, has great technical skill and makes wines in a style that combines elegance and aromatic richness. Each wine has personality and feels very natural, never heavy or over-the-top. Furthermore, nothing about the domaine is snobby or pretentious. And although Rémy Gresser puts his wines in the center his efforts are also much about history, culture and a great respect for the earth.