It was in the sixteenth century that the vineyards of Domaines Schlumberger were founded by the Prince Abbots of the Murbach Abbey. Then in 1810 Nicholas Schlumberger purchased 20 hectares of vines and in doing so established Domaines Schlumberger.
From generation to generation the Schlumberger family have both respected the nature and environment around them which has always been an essential element and philosophy in their wine making.
Domaines Schlumberger is unique that it is one of a few estates that is a producer grower, which means that not only do they grow their own grapes but they do not buy in any grapes from other growers. This vineyard is unique in Alsace : 140 hectares with 70 hectares classified as Grands Crus composed of 4 “terroirs” : Kitterlé, Kessler, Saering, Spiegel.
I visited at the end of May 2018, and was greeted by Esther Lelievre who kindly showed me around the winery including the cellar and bottling plant.
Esther presented me with 3 wines to taste, The 2015, Princes Abbes, Pinot Blanc, then 2 very different Rieslings (my choice!). The Rieslings were both from Grand Cru sites and not only from different vintages but from contrasting vineyards.
This 2015 Pinot Blanc was full of refreshing fruity fragrances reminiscent of citrus, lemon, green apple and a fine floral note. The wine has bright acidity that will lend itself to quite a few more years ageing in the bottle.
Next was the 2015 Riesling Grand Cru Saering. Harvested from a site whose soil composition consists of a marl/limestone/sandstone terroir. A vintage that has been hailed as one of the very best in Alsace and quite rightly so. The wine revealed top notes of pink grapefruit, kerosene, pineapple and fresh herbs. A wine that is drinking exceedingly well right now.
Riesling Grand Cru Kessler from the ripe year of 2014 was magnificent. Mentioned as early as the year 1394, the Kessler has been marketed under its own name since 1830. A real tour de force of the Riesling grape. The wine revealed layers and layers of honeyed lime, ginger, lemongrass, petrol and fresh herbs.
Then Esther surprised me by allowing me to try the 2012 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Kitterle.
An astonishing wine. Kitterle was distinguished right from 1699 when it was first planted by the Jesuit monks. This volcanic-sandstone plot is on a unique site, on a steeply sloping rocky outcrop facing three ways (south-west, south and south-east). The wine is highly aromatic with deep spice, ginger, lychee and honeyed fruits. However it is on the palate that this wine truly comes alive with rich apricot, spicy grapefruit, cardamom, rose, cinnamon and bright citrus flavours.