Monday, February 10, 2020

Some independent wine growers in Alsace recently invested in new tasting facilities

The wine route

Launched in 1953, the Alsace Wine Route is one of the oldest wine routes in France.
It offers visitors a wide range of activities related to wine and the vineyard all year round.

 The wine route winds 170km (110 miles) from the north to the south of the region, passing through 70 wine-growing villages, renowned for being some of the most beautiful villages in the Alsace.
We are talking about Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, Andlau, Obernai just to name a few.

The Alsace Wine Route is also a popular gathering place. From April to October, villages organise wine and harvest festivals in turn. Folklore entertainment, processions and wine-tastings take place all day long, and even at night, in a lively andfriendly atmosphere.

Some modern tasting facilities of independent wineries

It makes sense that wine cooperations were and are able to join forces and invest in modern tasting facilities. But also a couple of independent wineries have invested in new facilities in recent years.

Schlumberger:is established since 1810. Nowadays, there are two generations working side by side. Alain Beydon-Schlumberger, 6th generation and Séverine and Thomas Schlumberger, 7th generation. Their vineyard is unique in Alsace : 140 hectares hectares with 70 classified as Grands Cru : Kitterlé, Saering and Spiegel.

Schlumberger tasting room facade

When I take you for a visit, we can enjoy their new tasting facilities and their old wine cave.
If there is time enough we can also take a walk in their vineyards.

Schlumberger tasting bar

Joseph Cattin
In 1978, Jacques and Jean-Marie, grandsons of Joseph Cattin, took over the family-owned Estate; Jacques, as the manager and Jean- Marie running the vineyard operations. Jacques began to modernize the Cattin Winery; a new dynamic was created. In 25 years, means of production completely transformed and the vineyard has been spread over 60 hectares.

Entrance to cave at Cattin

In 2007, Jacques Junior, joined the company after having studied engineering in agronomy and winemaking. In collaboration with his father, Jacques Cattin Senior, Jacques junior took charge of the wine-making and the financial department. His wife, Anaïs, graduated from a prestigious business school, and with strong experience toward international commerce, she joined the company in 2012. She is currently responsible for the international sales department.

Downstairs tasting room at Cattin

At Cattin we can also visit the cave and then taste their wines either in a new tasting room or in their wine bar upstairs, where we can also eat something..

Upstairs wine bar at Cattin

Pierre Gassmann
Rolly-Gassmann is a Domaine like no one else. It is located to Rorschwihr, a sleepy village on the northern rim of Haut-Rhin. Rolly-Gassmann offers no wines from Grand Grands Cru terroirs, but from a set of very good Lieux-dits such as Silberberg, Muenchreben and Plaenzerreben. The vineyards are located in Rorschwihr and the neighbouring Rodern and Bergheim and exhibit large geological differences. However, at Rolly-Gassmann it is the varieties rather than the terroirs that are in focus.

View from Gassmann terrace (part of building also on the left

Rolly-Gassmann has a unique style. The wines are small masterpieces with very good definition. They all carry the signature of Rolly-Gassmann, a certain shameless, velvety sweetness. The fruit is rich and Rolly-Gassmann manages to balance the fruit with a vibrant acidity to form seductive wines that melt on the palate.

Display of rocks to be found in Alsace soils

Gassmanns tasting room on top of his enourmous new construction is worth a visit just for the architecture. The terrace outside and the views are extraordinairie!

Inside tasting space from Rolly Gassmann

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Wine shipping costs to the USA in 2020 - an increase of "only" Euro 1,45 per bottle

For wine shippings to the USA in 2020 the break even point still lies at about 18 bottles or more, like in 2018 and 2019. That is: the price per bottle shipped at 18+ bottles will be Euro 11,12 per bottle in 2020

This means a rise of "only" Euro 1,45 per botle compared to 2019, when it was Euro 9,67. 
The insurance costs stay at 2,5 % over the value with a minimum of Euro 25,=

Last but not least: as always, you do NOT pay the french TVA tax (20%) over the buying price of the bottle(s) here in France which of course sponsors your net shipping costs as always !.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tour de France - Vosges, Alsace and Burgundy

The Tour de France is the biggest cycling event in the world.
For three days the runners crossed "my french area".

Track from St Die - Colmar

 This picture was taken at Provencheres sur Fave

In the evening the dutch TV schow De Avondetappe came from Eguisheim

The 2nd track brought them from Mulhouse to La Planche de Belles Filles

In the evening the dutch TV schow De Avondetappe came from Riquewihr

Then came the 3rd track from Belfort - Chalon sur Saone

In the evening the dutch TV schow De Avondetappe came from Chateau hotel de Gilly

The BRT did even better with their show "Vive le Velo" from the Abbey of (Clos de) Vougeot

A year to remember !

Friday, March 8, 2019

Alsatian wine tasting in an American wine club

On one of my last trips of 2018 I was touring with some American wine lovers that are members of an enthusiastic local wine club.

We visited Karcher, J.B. Adam, Schoffit and Domaine Weinbach.
At each stop they bought wines and had them all shipped by the USA Wine Club (me ) to the USA.

On a recent wine club evening in the USA, my contactperson Melinda had prepared a great "Alsatian" dinner and presented all her Alsatian wines to the club members.
The written information about these Alsatian wines presented to the club by Melinda, was amazing. I asked her if I could show her work to all of my JoliSoleil website members and luckily she agreed. Here is the first page:
The whole document (pdf) is under "HOME" Members: Wine Club USA on the Jolisoleil website 

Great job, Melinda. Thanks for sharing !

P.S. If you are living in the USA and want to ship wines directly from Alsace to your home and taste them in your club, then have a look at our Web / Wine shop or mail me.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Local markets around - lokale markten rond our BnB in La Forge

Local markets in the La Forge BnB area - Gerardmer and Remiremont

Regionale markten met veel lokale producenten: Gerardmer op donderdag- en zaterdagmorgen. En in Remiremont op dinsdag- en vrijdagmorgen.

French market days wit many local farmers present around La Forge: In Gerardmer on Thursday and Saturday morning and in Remiremont on Tuesday and Friday morning.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Alsace Grand Cru tours in 2019

The Alsace Grand Cru tours
The history of wine making in Alsace goes back to old Roman times. Castles dot the landscape, villages, churches, vineyards and wines, cuisine and traditions all make Alsace a unique and magical European experience.
Did you know that apart from Japan, the french Alsace region has the most Michelin * restaurants in the world? Did you know that there are recognised over 800 soil types in Alsace? Given the fact that most winemakers in Alsace make their wines in the wine field and not in the wine cellar that results in an enormous variety in smells and flavors. It also means that the wine year really make a difference.
Did you know that the great white grand cru wines often have an enormous aging potential?

On this tour you will find it all out ! We offer you the biggest names and visit wineries like Zind Humbrecht, Deiss,Trimbach, Hugel, etc.
You will visit the Confrerie St Etienne at the Chateau de Kientzheim with its history and with a wine cellar with over 65.000 bottles going back to the 1800's.
We have our lunches and dinners in the finest restaurants often Michelin starred.
The Alsace Grand Cru tour is your chance to visit and taste the very best Alsace has to offer.
What you will do and see
We will start with an introduction and overview. You will learn about the grand cru system. Understand what happens and what it means when winemakers are not allowed to irrigate their fields.
You will taste from dry to sweet; compare young and old.

Each day you will be in a different area. We will be in "bas rhin" in the north and "haut rhin" in the south, but because of the changing shape and presence of the Vosges mountains, there are a lot of different micro-climates within those areas. The micro climates all leave their trace and signature in the wines.
Our lunches and dinners
As stated we have selected some great restaurants. Apart from their rating in the Michelin guide they are also chosen for their location. On your tour we do not want to waste time on unnecessary driving. Wines during lunches and dinners are for your own expense, except for the last evening dinner where everything is included.

Who will be on the tour?
You will meet wine lovers that "know their wines" and also have been in other wine areas. But you will also meet "beginners" and people that want to get to know Alsace and its culinary highlights. Considering age: there will be  younger and older people from diferent backgrounds.
In other words the groups are mixed, but the thing everybody has in common is wanting to "wine and dine" on a high level, get to know the area and meet other people that also want to share that same experience.
Stay in a selection of fine hotels
Depending on the tour we sometimes choose one hotel for all our tour guests. On other tours we use three of the best hotels in Colmar that  are on walking distcance from each other. That means that you book the room(s) you want yourself.
The tour bus will always pick you up and drop you off at your place. On some evenings we can walk to the restaurant and back to the hotel.
The tour rate per person is: Euro 995,=
Once your Alsace Grand Cru Wine Tour begins you can relax knowing that the tour rate covers absolutely everything besides your hotel and breakfast expenses.
So: guides, all lunches and dinners, all tasting wines, excursions, all entrance fees, tasting fees, tips, taxes and gratuities are dealt with. Tipping is neither required nor expected.
Last but not least: you are not obliged to buy any wines on the tour but "if" you do, we can assist you in shipping those wines.

Résumée - Alsace Grand Cru tour from Colmar 

  • 4 nights, 3 tour days 
  • Exclusive touring: minimum of 4 couples or 8 people, maximum 8 couples or 16 people
  • Air conditioned mini-bus with driver 
  • 7 tastings, more than 60 wines, compare many grand cru's 
  • 3 lunches, 3 gourmet dinners (one with Michelin *) 
  • Stay in one of three of our preselected hotels in Colmar 
  • Tour rate per person: Euro 995,,=,  
    • including all tour transport, all tastings, 3 lunches, 3 dinners 
    • excl. hotel and breakfasts
  • We can assist you in shipping your wines 
  • Your tour host : drs. J. Pieter Smits

Please check our Event planning for available tour dates​ in 2019 and 2020.
For Alsace book here!

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