Alsace wine producer: Stoeffler, Barr

As a wine town considered, the first impression of Barr is that of being one of the dullest in Alsace. It gives all the appearance of a commercial and administrative center below the the mighty Kirchberg de Barr, a classic Grand Cru, dating from the 1760s. But at the foot of this historic vineyard is another, very nice Barr with an enchanting mix of traditional half-timbered houses and a sort of fashionable, century-old quarters who apparently believe themselves to be in Paris. This is very obvious along rue du Docteur Sultzer that leads to Heiligenstein, famous for its Klevener which is identical to the Savignin Rose of Jura.

Kirchberg is divided among a few large producers (Willm and Klipfel), and smaller producers in Barr, Mittelbergheim and Heiligenstein. These villages are very integrated in terms of vineyard holding, probably through generations of intermarriages.

Vincent Stoeffler belongs to the new "golden generation" who are well educated, highly skilled, deeply committed to the environment, and also very loyal to the region's traditions. It is accredited according to Agriculture biologique which means that neither synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used. Stoeffler also works according to biodynamics.

Stoeffler's 15 hectares vineyards cover both land around Barr and vineyards around Riquewihr. The latter comes from his spouses side. Therefore he produces the two Grands Crus Kirchberg and Schoenenbourg (Riquewihr). The southern region also contributes with two Lieux-dits, Kronenburg and Muhlforst. The former can be seen as an eastern extension of Schoenenbourg, while Muhlforst is a splendid terroir with calcareous marl south of Ribeauvillé.

So how are the wines? Stoeffler makes medium-bodied wine with a really good terroir characteristics. The level is very even, and the Lieux-dits Kronenburg and Muhlforst are as serious as the two Grands Crus, and are sold at an astoundingly low price. The wine press always and justly hails the Muhlforst.

The Riesling Kirchberg de Barr is elegant and never astringent. Thus, it can without doubt be drunk young. The wine belongs to the category of great wines that are good from the date of bottling and still develops over decades in the cellar. In this way it resembles the Altenberg de Bergheim, which has similar geology. Stoeffler also makes Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer from Kirchberg de Barr, for which it is particularly famous thanks to Clos Gaensbrounneln. The wines from the area around Riquewihr need a bit more time to show their complexity and to flourish.

Stoeffler also has a very nice Klevener the Heiligenstein. In Vincent Stoefflers version it has a medium-bodied, spicy character with a restrained acidity. An excellent wine for the table that that may inly be grown in five municipalities around Heiligenstein.

Finally, there is also a range of wonderful crémants, largely based on Chardonnay, and serious and exciting Pinot Noir in three different styles. In short: At Vincent Stoeffler's there is a lot of joy on bottle!



Vincent Stoeffler
1, rue des Lievre, Barr
+33 (0) 388 08 52 50
+33 (0) 388 08 17 09 (fax)
Price range (2011)
Riesling € 6.40
Riesling Schoenenbourg € 13.40
Well balanced, medium-bodied wine with terroir characteristics.
Welcoming and generous. Excellent English.
Lieux-dits: Kronenburg, Muhlforst, Rotenberg
Grands Crus: Kirchberg de Barr, Schoenenbourg

Representative wines 2011

Hidden Treasure
2009 Pinot Blanc Fresh, slightly spicy grape scent with notes of yellow apples. Deep, complexm medium-bodied palate with balanced acidity and some minerality. A very well made, useful and reliable wines that always score high in the wine press.
Everyday Riesling
2008 Riesling Muhlforst Big, tough, mineralig aroma of terroir typical grapefruktton. Austere, elegant and excellent taste with good volume, rasiga acids and thus all that is required for storage.
Top-range Riesling
2009 Riesling Kirchberg de Barr Sweet smell of fruit salad and nuts. Generous, elegant and soft palate with ripe acids that are lovely in the mouth, and a long finish with surprising minerality. Good now and for many decades. A very good wine where the winemaker mastered the hot vintage.
Most exciting wine
2007 Crémant d'Alsace Blanc de Blanc Brut Millésime Attractive toasty aroma with clear autolytic character and lemon-like freshness. Dry, supple palate with delicious mousse, pleasant fruit and all the elements that a Champagne should have.