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19 June 2019 № 368

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Alain Schlumberger in Rostov

The 1st of November a significant event for wine connoisseurs had place in Rostov-on-Don — arrival of the owner of one of famous family domains of Alsace, Alain Baydon-Schlumberger.

Mozart Wine House:
— Alain, is this your first visit to Russia?
Alain Schlumberger:
— No, a third one, but in Rostov I’m for the first time. I am happy that it’s warm and there is no Russian winter at all (laughing)
Mozart Wine House:
— Your domain is 200 years old and you always stay a family enterprise…
Alain Schlumberger:
— Yes, in 2010 we celebrated the 200 anniversary of the House. I represent the 6th generation of the wine-making dynasty, now the rudder is in my hands and my nephew and my niece help me. Severene, Toma and me we keep family traditions, this is the cornerstone.
Mozart Wine House:
— Alain, Alsace is one of the French regions that has been influenced by the neighbors since ever. Could you tell us what is the particular thing of the region and does it impress the people and the wine of Alsace?
Alain Schlumberger:
— Alsace has really taken a lot from its nearest neighbors, but the unique geographical position is evidently expressed in the culture of the people as well as in the wines. What is important is that the vineyards of Alsace are situated in the Vosges mountains which protect them from the ocean winds and excess of water, eastern exposition makes us early birds and let the vine get the warm of the rising sun. Alsace is the driest region of France with warm spring, mild summer and dry and cool autumn. Bio-dynamical technologies that are used in our domains is not only our respect of the future generations, but also an adequate answer to the geographical aspect. That is why we keep making terraces of the rose sandy stone, using the horses for works in the vineyards, and the hardworking and a bit stubborn character of the wine-maker is the way of life.
Mozart Wine House:
— And who of your Alsace colleagues makes wines that you could place at the same range that yours?
Alain Schlumberger:
— It is clear that in Alsace, like everywhere there are huge producers and private wineries. We are lucky, up to this day we are the owner of 140 ha of vineyards, 70 of them are classified Grand Cru. Naturally, we keep the highest level of quality and don’t buy grapes, however we can not rise prices too much. Among wine-makers of our level I would name Domaine Zindt-Humbreht, Marc Creidenweiss, Domaine Schofitt, Marcel Deiss.
Mozart Wine House:
— And what do you think about Trimbach or Hugel?
Alain Schlumberger:
— First of all — these are enormous enterprises aimed to the profit before all. Of course, the quality of their wine is high, but it’s another story. By the way, in Alsace no one likes the Hugel, they are too closed, too oriented on themselves.
Mozart Wine House:
— By the way, you have mentioned that you are acquainted of another wine-maker — Aubert de Villaine from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.
Alain Schlumberger:
— Oh, yes, we are old friends with Aubert. He is really an incredible person, I would say an icon of the world wine-making. But in his life he is a very easy person and never shows his domination. Great wines for him is an ordinary thing, He can take chicken and fries in a cafe and drink some vintage Montrachet or Romanee-St-Vivant with it.
Mozart Wine House:
— And you, do you have some aged wines?
Alain Schlumberger:
— Last time Aubert came to me, I opened a bottle of Gewurztraminer 1947, the wine was charming, profound, thick as flower honey. Now we have only 11 of them. 1947 is one of the greatest years of the XX century. As well as 1945, 1959, 1961, 1967, 1976 и 1985.
Mozart Wine House:
— And what about this year? In Bourgogne, as they say, the wine-makers have got about 30% less of harvest vs the previous year.
Alain Schlumberger:
— What is the date today (looking at his mobile phone)? The 1st of November? Two days ago the harvesting finished. Thanks to God we are luckier than the Burgundians. The quality of the grape is good, the spring was mild, we were anxious because of the rainy August, but the fall was warm and fine, so generally we are happy. Sure, it’s not a great year, but wines will be stable and long-living.
Mozart Wine House:
— For the years of work with vine you are inhabited to everything, but nevertheless what is the most exciting thing for you in wine-making?
Alain Schlumberger:
— I mentioned that from 7 varieties of grapes that are used in Alsace for making wine the most capricious are Muscat and Gewurztraminer. So every year production of wine of the latest makes me more stressed than all the other together. The destiny of the harvest depends on thousands of conditions like will it rain in June or will we be able to shoot the birds that come from forest in flocks of 8 thousands. Not like Riesling that is the wine of the terroir, Gewurztraminer is a wine of the grape and the skills of the Master of Wine, that is what makes the phenomena Alsace Gewurztraminer unique.
Mozart Wine House:
— 
Speaking about particularity of the Alsace wines… What is your opinion of the rising interest to German Rieslings?
Alain Schlumberger:
— Even though I sincerely think that German Rieslings are high quality wines, I should compare this interest to one wine or another with VOGUE. Two years ago everyone talked about Austrian white wines, two years before — Argentina Malbec, today East European wines are en vogue. It’s very probable that in two more years they will speak about Alsace Riesling… (laughing).
Mozart Wine House:
— and you personally how do you see the trends of the market, what’s new is in your region?
Alain Schlumberger:
— In Alsace we review the value of the wine made of that or that grape. For example, Silvaner is going down but there is a great interest to Pinot Gris. It’s normal as the wine of Pinot Gris can be easily called an authentic Alsace wine which can open a meal like aperitif and close it like a pair to desert.
Mozart Wine House:
— Well, this is dinner time. Thank you for your interesting answers, lets try aperitif?

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