René Dopff took over Dopff & Irion in 1945. He broke away from the old winemaking techniques and looked to the terroir rather than to the grape variety. He decided to divide the vineyard at Chateau de Riquewihr into four estates, which he rechristened with typically French names: Les Murailles, Les Sorcières, Les Maquisards and Les Amandiers. He opted for clearer labeling, abandoning gothic lettering in favor of a more sober script. These wines, made solely from the four noble grape varieties, expressed the very soul of the terroir. From that day on, each estate was dedicated to a particular variety. René Dopff then proceeded to ensure that his wines graced the best tables in France and the world over. He supplied wines to the Palais de l’Elysée, the French President’s residence, and for the launch of the luxury liner, “France”...
Dopff & Irion is proud of their inheritance and feel it is their duty to ensure that it continues to thrive and prosper. The love of wine, of their vines, and of the region is an invitation to a voyage through history to be shared and savored.
With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.
The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s 51 Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.
Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsace Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.
Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsace wines are single-varietal bottlings and unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.
Gewürztraminer, an expressive and aromatically distinctive white grape variety, is considered a noble variety in the Alsace region of France, and produces wonderful wines in the mountainous Alto Adige region of NE Italy. Generally this grape grows well in cooler regions and its natural intensity makes it a great ally for flavorful cuisine such as Indian, Middle Eastern or Moroccan. Somm Secret—Because of a charming perfume and tendency towards slight sweetness, Gewürztraminer makes for an excellent gateway wine for those who love sweet wines but want to venture into the realm of drier whites.