In the world of wine, there is no law of nature that dictates that the largest firm has the most profound knowledge, or the most publicised domain works by the most modern principles.
This is illustrated quite clearly by the firm of Emile Herzog in Turckheim, which goes back to 1686. This exquisite, welcoming and unlikely business covers only 1.4 ha. This means that the annual production amounts to approximately 8000 bottles! The house style is characterised by fruit, freshness, balance and a great respect for the terroir. Every year, the company Emile Herzog receives awards for their wines, by the Guide Hachette as well as at competitions such as Pinot Gris du Monde.
The domaine is housed in an ordinary villa in a modern residential neighbourhood. In charge is Mme A Herzog, widow of Emile Herzog who worked with wine issues at the Ministry of Agriculture, but nevertheless wanted to have one foot left in the "reality". The harvest takes place on weekends during the fall when the two sons can come loose from their jobs. Pressing, ageing, bottling, labelling and storage – everything takes place in the basement of the house.
Herzog has a number of formidable parcels on the Grand Cru Brand, and the central parts of lieux-dits Herrenweg and Langgass. Herrenweg (alluvial, quaternary deposits) is a large and reputable vineyard on the route from Turckheim to Colmar, while Langgass (colluvial calcareous clay on top of alluvial deposits) is located by the road to Wintzenheim. But in addition to these plats, some Gewurztraminer is grown in - the villa garden! One interesting wine of high quality is the Edelzwicker "cuvée Gastronomique", a wine of noble grapes that are pressed together. It has true class, in spite of the simple denomination.
All land is worked using horse and hand plow, just as at Zind-Humbrecht. This method avoids compression of the soil. Mrs. Herzog makes her own compost, and no synthetic substances are used. In addition, the wines are pruned extremely hard, only one last year's fruit-bearing shoots (baguette) is retained!
A visit to Mme Herzog is something very, very special. So are the wines.
Last visit: 2009.