On our first visit to this beautiful region of France we thought we had stepped into a picture postcard. Serried ranks of vines advancing towards the forests of the Vosges; ruins of once proud medieval castles; quaint walled villages with flower-decked streets, and hospitable inns – and all this before we had tasted the wine. And what wine – brilliantly appetising, clean-cut and aromatic.
We discovered Domaine Gruss thanks to one of our suppliers, Fernand Chevrot from Burgundy. As we all know, the best recommendations are word of mouth, and we were not disappointed. On our first visit we were very impressed with the warm welcome – and the wines – so several visits later we confirmed Domaine Gruss as our second Alsace vineyard.
The domaine is right in the heart of the ancient village of Eguisheim, a pretty place with old timber-framed houses, colourful window boxes and the resident storks who keep a watchful eye on events down below from their nest high up on the church spire. Amongst all this wonderful tradition and history lurk the talents of one of Alsace’s young, modern thinkers, André Gruss, who has been described by Alsace expert Tom Stevenson, in his Wine Report 2008, as ‘one of the most highly thought-of and talented winemakers in Alsace today’.
One of the unique aspects of winemaking in Alsace is that even the smallest of growers normally produces many different wines each year. André is no exception, and he agreed to make two exclusive wines for Partners, a Riesling and a Gewürztraminer.