The village of Bergbieten, in the northern part of Bas-Rhin, has only one single producer. That is Roland Schmitt, now run by Anne-Marie Schmitt and her sons.
The domaine produces wines from 7.2 ha, 2.2 ha out of which are on Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergbieten and a few more on the neighbouring Lieu-dit Glinzberg. Some of the production goes to the cooperative. Since the production of domaine wines is relatively small, and the demand is high, the domaine has very little to sell from January to April, when bottling of the most recent vintage starts. On a visit, one should expect some of the wines to be sold out, epuisé.
Altenberg de Bergbieten, one of three "Grands Crus Altenberg" in Alsace, is relatively flat. The soil is clayey, and the bedrock contains marl mixed with limestone and gypsum. From this complex terroir, Roland Schmitt offers a Sylvaner "Grand A". The production is very small, only some 1 000 bottles annually, and you may have to ask for it specifically.
The domaine are run according to bio-principles. Hence the vines are allowed to grow faily much on their own, calling for an enormous amount of manual work during May and June. As a result, the vigour of the vines and the yields are controlled in a natural way. The quality of the wines is very consistent, and offer superior terroir character. In fact, even in the Gewurztraminer and the Pinot Gris from Altenberg, the minerality of the terroir may dominate over the varietal character.
The price policy of Roland Schmitt is everything but aggressive, despite the lack of stocks for a few months during the year. The firm makes the judgement that the competition in France is very severe and that involves a big risk to increase the prices.
Roland Schmitt is part of a network, Couronne d´Or that jointly markets the wines. Etienne Loew of Westhoffen is another partner in this network of first class growers.
At Domaine Roland Schmitt, you are welcomed by people and wines full of charm and love. What more can you ask from life?
Latest visit: 2008.