The firm Valentin Zusslin is run by two siblings, Jean-Paul and Marie. In the background their father Jean-Marie is still active, while the founder and grandfather Valentin died in 2011. Zusslin has the motto "13 generations, one family, one thousand ideas". It is an apt description of how Zusslin is rooted in history, present in the moment and invests in the future.
In 1995 Jean-Paul Zusslin, after a short course at the wine school in Rouffach, took the decision to convert the whole production into biodynamics. Since vintage 2000, the entire operation has been certified.
A lot of the work in the vineyards is carried out by Sesame, a friendly horse normally grazing in a pasture within the village. Today, he is alone in the stables, but Jean-Paul and Marie are looking for another horse that can work the soil without causing compaction. In another paddock one finds the fruit trees that provide fruit for the marc made at the domaine.
Zusslin has most of it's 13 hectares of vineyards in the valley that stretches north from Orschwihr towards Vallée Noble. A large percentage are the excellent lieu-dit Bollenberg. The Bollenberg consist mainly of oligocene conglomerates, much like Grands Crus Mambourg and Hengst. The potential of the soil and the sunny, dry location makes Bollenberg a real Premier Cru - if such had been found in Alsace. The total area of Bollenberg is as large as 300 hectares. The uniqueness of the Bollenberg is that it is suitable for all grapes. Zusslin grows all four noble grapes as well as Pinot Noir on Bollenberg.
Zusslin also offers Clos Liebenberg, a lieu-dit bordering Grand Cru Pfingstberg. Here Sylvaner and Riesling are grown. The Riesling often surpass the domain's Grand Cru, especially for those who enjoy firm acidity. Clos Liebenberg gives low yields and Rieslings with great complexity and minerality. Zusslin has only on Riesling on Grand Cru Pfingstberg, not Pinot Gris, which is unusual in the village of Orschwihr.
Zusslin is a domaine with high ambitions for quality and form the environment. All wines are made with tremendous care, minimal intervention and great technical skill. The price level is slightly above the levels of most producers around Orschwihr. But it is largely explained by the low yields and the strict selection.
So if you love Riesling and are interested in Pinot Noir, do not miss Zusslin!
Latest visit: 2013.