At each visit to Alsace I run into one producer whose wines and personality makes a particularly positive and deep impression. In 2008 that person was Bruno Schloegel.
Bruno Schloegel had a successful career as a consultant within related to wine and the wine business. However, in 2001 he left the white-collar job in Colmar to start working at his uncles domaine in Wolxheim, a charming village situated a mere 20 km due west of Strasbourg. The domaine dates back to 1848, but it was in the 1930's that Alphonse Lissner, followed by his son Clément Lissner and his wife Marianne, that Lissner became a name on a wine label.
Today, the domaine covers 8 hectares of vines, out of which 1,2 hectares are on Grand Cru Altenberg de Wolxheim. This hill of marl and oolithic limestone (similar to Altenberg de Bergheim) has a strong reputation for Riesling wines with fruit and finesse, as well as power and acidity. But Bruno Schloegel also has vines on the famous red sandstone (Rothstein) that was once used to construct the fortification (La Citadelle) of Strasbourg. Wolxheim had its' days of glory around 1680 when this material was taken out of the Royal Quarries of Wolxheim to be shipped to Strasbourg on the channel (Canal de la Bruche) build for this purpose.
Bruno Schloegel has carefully established a diverse layer of ground vegetation in his vineyards, and does not cut, just arrange, the shoots during the summer. These and other actions ensure a combination of several advantageous features; less grape bunches, self regulating growth, better nutrient utilization, deeper roots (drought resistance) and less risk of grey rot in case of autumn rains. Thus, the viticulture becomes more natural and ecologically sustainable, and the need for artificial fertilizers and organic pesticides is eliminated.
It is thus not surprising that with great grape material, combined with careful winemaking, the wines of Clément Lissner hold a very high and even quality. Even if Riesling appears to have a special place in the heart of Bruno Schloegel, the same skill, care and commitment is evident across the whole range.
Besides 'moonlighting' as an organ player in the church of Dangolsheim, Bruno Schloegel spends a lot of time and effort as treasurer of Confrérie de Saint Etienne.
With Clément Lissner, Bruno Schloegel has just started of a second career. Make a visit to Wolxheim, and one day you will say 'I was there before hardly anyone outside Alsace understood what was going on'.
Latest visit: 2008