Alsace wine producers: Domaine de l'Oriel - Gérard Weinzorn, Niedermorschwihr

Claude Weinzorn is the man who placed the company Domaine de l'Oriel (Gérard Weinzorn) in the top layer among the producers who are most appreciated among local connoisseurs of Alsace wines. The reason is simple: the wines from Domaine de l'Oriel are consistently perfectly clean with fresh fruitiness, as the same time as they fully express the characteristics of the terroir.

Domaine de l'Oriel covers approximately 9 ha. The domaine largely builds its’ reputation on parcels at three Grands Crus located in three different villages: Sommerberg (hard granite in Niedermorschwihr), Brand (easily weathered granite with with biotite in Turckheim) and Florimont (clayey marl in Ingersheim). Of these, it is obvious that Claude Weinzorn has a soft spot for Sommerberg.

Grand Cru Sommerberg is exceptionally steep and difficult to work, and it requires three times more working hours than normal in Alsace. The land has only o thin soil cover, and the dramatic slopes on the hard granite are treacherous and dangerous. According to Claude, who has had four serious accidents, it is more dangerous to be vigneron on Sommerberg than to drive a Formula 1 racer!

For decades, Claude Weinzorn has worked with ecologically oriented farming. Therefore, he has very low yields, below 50 hl/ha on average. During the autumn the vines of Weinzorn yellow first of all on the slopes. It is a proof that the vines go into winter rest early, a consequence of the fact that the nutrient availability is kept low at the expense of yield.

At Domaine de l'Oriel, all is about quality. Even the simplest Pinot Blanc and the very successful blend l’Oriel are extremely well made. But wines from Claude Weinzorn are never semi-sweet, fruit-driven monster wines. Instead, they are tight, sweet, precise and sophisticated little gems that are charmers as young but developed enormously over time. Therefore the three Grands Crus are sold after some years of maturation when the dense minerality of the wines has begun to show.

Latest visit: 2009.



Key persons
Claude Weinzorn
133 rue des Trois Epis
+33 (0)389 27 40 55
+33 (0)389 27 04 23 (fax)
Price range(2009)
Riesling Génerique €7.50
Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg €13
Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg Cuvée Arnaud €20
Fruity, dry wines with splendid terroir character.
Small scale, welcoming and personal. No English.
Grands crus: Brand, Florimont, Sommerberg

Representative wines 2009

Hidden Treasure
2007 Sylvaner A powerful wine with a spicy and earthy aroma with raspberries. The taste is full and perfectly dry, with a peppery fruitiness and stunning acidity. A wine with a strong local character, made with love and low yields.
Basic Riesling
2007 Riesling A classic among local wine lovers! The aroma is very fruity with yellow apples, melons, oranges and a flinty minerality. The taste starts of with fruit and freshness, and the medium-bodied mid-palate is loaded with fruit salad, while the finish has a surprising saline, minerality.
Top Range Riesling
2005 Riesling Grand Cru Florimont Lively, fruity aroma with apples, lemon curd and a smoky note of cured ham. The taste is all the elegance citrus notes one should expect from Florimont, with mature acidity, flint and good length.
Most Exciting Wine
2004 Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg Cuvée Arnaud Dense aroma with honey, young fruit, white flowers and the complexity of beginning maturation. The primary taste is extremely elegant, silky and complex with exotic fruits, apricots and melon, while the finish offers huge, hard and classy minerality. Pure quality!