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Domaine Maurice Schoech, “Furstentum” Riesling Grand CruAlsace, France 2018 (750mL)

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Domaine Maurice Schoech, “Furstentum” Riesling Grand Cru Alsace, France 2018 (750mL)

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No matter the vintage, if Domaine Schoech emerges with 1,000 bottles of “Furstentum” Grand Cru Riesling, it’s considered a major victory because just .2 organically farmed hectares are owned in this hallowed site. For us, each rare, micro-batch release has qualified as a vinous masterpiece, but today’s 2018 transcends even that—this is a dry and freakishly delicious Riesling beyond words, although “exotic,” “luxurious” and “multi-textural” is a good start. 


That, however, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows the Schoechs. This timeless family has soaked up 371 years of winegrowing expertise, but even that pales in comparison to today’s far-more historic terroir. Grand Cru “Furstentum” has been meticulously tended and deeply cherished for many centuries, with wines bearing its name as far back as 1330. Yet, the allure of today’s offer isn’t confined to ancient intrigue: Rarely does a dry Grand Cru white harness such immense depth, explosive perfume, and mineral complexity. In fact, rarely does a Grand Cru white of this pedigree cost $55—not to mention that finding any quantity is a small miracle. Once you pull the cork and allow 30 minutes of air, I assure you that just one glass of this historic and highly affordable Grand Cru treat will pay for itself. Enjoy now, in five years, or beyond 2030. 



Another thing I’ve said before is that Alsace may be the most breathtaking wine region on earth. It holds deep sentimental importance for me, and as such, I’m extremely selective about the region’s wines. We might only offer two or three Alsatian whites on SommSelect per year. That’s not because the region isn’t overflowing with some of France’s most historic and impressive whites—and the country’s ONLY Grand Cru Riesling. It’s because of the prices. For instance, one of my favorite Alsace Rieslings is Trimbach’s “Clos Sainte Hune” (a sub-parcel of Grand Cru Rosacker, just a few miles north of Furstentum) which currently retails for $250+ a pop. So, rather than cramming a bunch of extremely expensive Alsatian whites into your inbox, I prefer to hold my fire and wait for the rare instances wherein top quality meets a reasonable price. 


Do you ever wonder why so many sommeliers call Riesling their favorite grape? It’s one of the most age-worthy varieties on the planet and a chameleon capable of expressing even the most subtle distinctions of various soil types. Those who question the concept of terroir need only compare a glass of slate-grown Riesling to that of a neighboring limestone parcel—they will encounter two dramatically different wines. Terroir is a real thing and few grapes illustrate the concept as definitively as Riesling. Moreover, there’s no more versatile wine with food, period.


Today’s bottle hails from the seven-century-old “Furstentum” vineyard, a Grand Cru that clings precariously to a steep, 37% grade hillside in the Vosges mountains. Sebastien and Jean-Léon Schoech’s organically farmed parcels lie at the highest elevation here (roughly 1,500 feet). Every low-yielding cluster is hand-harvested, fermented on ambient yeasts, and aged in both stainless steel and bottle for two years before release. There is no chaptalization, no forced malolactic fermentation, no fining—just clean, precise winemaking that showcases the immense mineral power and vigor of Furstentum. 


With little in the way of classification or labeling standards, it’s often challenging to determine what’s in a bottle of Alsace Riesling until after the cork has been pulled, so, let me be 100% clear: This is a deliciously dry yet extremely luscious wine! As we’ve learned over the years, “Furstentum” is a Riesling of momentous power, breathtakingly vivid fruit, and immense minerality. This 2018 is bursting with green mango peel, papaya, white peach, mandarin, white flowers, honeysuckle, Meyer lemon, exotic spices, smoke, and wet stones. Its fantastically lush palate oozes with beautifully ripe orchard and tropical fruits that are enhanced by crushed minerals and taut acidity. Every layer is expansive, rich, intense—a perfect wine for choucroute garnie. When enjoying one or two over the next year (it’s inevitable), please decant for 30 minutes and serve in all-purpose or Burgundy stems around 55 degrees. If you can summon the restraint, I encourage you to leave some behind for days two and three, as the evolution is truly astounding. Cheers!




Domaine Maurice Schoech, “Furstentum” Riesling Grand Cru Alsace, France 2018 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionAlsace
  • Sub-RegionFurstentum Grand Cru
  • SoilSandstone, Clay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendRiesling
  • Alcohol13%
  • Service Temp.50-55° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stem
  • DrinkNow-2028
  • Decanting15-30 Minutes
  • PairingChoucroute Garnie

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionAlsace
  • Sub-RegionFurstentum Grand Cru
  • SoilSandstone, Clay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendRiesling
  • Alcohol13%
  • Temp.Serve at 50-55° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2028
  • Decanting15-30 Minutes
  • PairingChoucroute Garnie