Pinot Noir Roche Granitique 2017 – Domaine Kirrenbourg.
Pure elegance through and through. For this review we are discussing a top Pinot Noir from Alsace’s Schlossberg Grand Cru. This review includes two different tasting notes, four years apart and gives you an impression on the Schlossberg Grand Cru. The wine is produced by Domaine Kirrenbourg.
About the Winery
Domaine Kirrenbourg is the winery that makes this Pinot Noir Roche Granitique. They were earlier known as Martin Schaetzel, when he started it in the 30s of the previous century. The Schaetzel Domaine grew out to become 12 hectares, and was run by Jean Schaetzel until 2010. Since 1998 the Schaetzel winery was biodynamic and situated in Ammerschwihr.
Seventeen years later, in 2015, Martin Schaetzel by Kirrenbourg was birthed. The winery was built in Kientzheim, along with some hectares under vine. By now they have a few hectares on the Schlossberg and Brand Grand Cru. They also managed to get the biodynamic certification quickly. Since 2019, the winery is simply called Domaine Kirrenbourg and situated in between Kientzheim and Kaysersberg-vignoble in a gorgeous wood-based building.
The strength of Kirrenbourg is the old-fashioned know-how, the passionate people and exceptional terroir. It is the bond between the people and the terroir that drives them to make wines of quality.
About the Terroir
Roche Granitique gives you an idea of what is in the soil: Granite. It is the granite from Alsace’s oldest grand cru, the Schlossberg. Pinot Noir can currently not be labelled as grand cru, therefore the winemaker (Ludovic Meriau) chooses to label this as ‘Roche Granitique’. This is something that many wineries of Alsace do, make grand cru quality Pinot Noir.
The Schlossberg Grand Cru, is a south facing granitic vineyard. Located close by the namesake Chateau just above Kaysersberg-Vignoble. It is a big grand cru, covering a whooping 80 hectares, primarily planted with Riesling. It is also a steep vineyard in some places. Its microclimate is hot, very hot, as well as dry. The grand cru has suffered a lot of drought in the last few years. A wind sometimes rushes over the vines, tempering the climate a little. This ventilating effect helps Riesling to produce elegant wines, as applicable to Pinot Noir too.
About the Wine
Throughout its life span this 2017 Pinot Noir was tasted twice (2019 and 2023).
First tasting (October 2019):
Youthful aromas with a lot of fresh red fruit, redcurrant, cherry, raspberry and much more. Adding to that, a hint of subtle spice, earthiness, some smoke and plenty of minerality. The palate was refreshing with medium + acidity, medium body and a long finish. The tannins were already ripe and smooth.
Second tasting (September 2023):
We see a similar medium ruby colour as in 2019, just a bit of a developing edge. Aromas indulge you with elegance. These include softer, riper red fruit, plum, raspberry confiture, redcurrant and the typical red cherry. The other beautiful typicity of Alsace Pinot Noir shines through in the form of earth, minerality, smoke and flint. The rest is a subtility of spice. On the palate we taste a dry red wine, with a similar acidity as four years ago, and silky-smooth medium tannins. The palate is truly elegant. This wine is outstanding, and has aged gracefully.
A beautiful example of development in a high-quality wine. We award this Alsace beauty with a 94-point DWA Score.
This wine is reviewed by our own Benjamin Roelfs. The wines of Domaine Kirrenbourg can be purchased at the winery.
Taste date: October 2019 and September 2023
Score: 94/100 DWA Score
Website: Domaine Kirrenbourg