Domaine Marcel Deiss is one of the best producers in Alsace. The house was founded in 1947, but the history of the Deiss family in viticulture goes back much further. The current owner and winemaker, Jean-Michel Deiss, emphatically opts for a terroir philosophy. About 40 years ago he changed course to completely choose his own path in the grape variety-oriented wine market at that time. This way of viticulture, in which entire hectares of vineyards are planted with a single grape variety, creates characterless wines and unhealthy vineyards, according to him. It is precisely the art of capturing the enormous diversity of this special wine region, with all its sub-climates and soil compositions, in the wines.
“The vineyard takes precedence over the grape variety”, is his firm conviction. That is why he planted grape varieties in various vineyards together (complantation), as the winegrowers used to do. This promotes biodiversity in the vineyard: the different grape varieties reinforce and support each other. Other local crops, trees and shrubs in and around the vineyards provide even greater biodiversity. In the vineyards, work is done manually as much as possible and according to biodynamic principles. Vertical growth of the roots is stimulated as much as possible: the deeper the roots go into the soil, the more nutrients and characteristics of the vineyard the vines can absorb.
Deiss distinguishes between the 'vins de fruits' and the 'vins de terroirs'. The first group often concerns varietal wines that are extremely pure, have a high concentration and clearly reflect the vintage. The terroir wines are the regional, communal or vineyard wines, where the wine is much more influenced by the terroir than by a grape variety. These wines are made from at least 3 grape varieties, but sometimes from 13 varieties. The wines can differ greatly per terroir and per vintage. The winemaking philosophy is simple: intervene as little as possible so that the terroir speaks fully. "The wine has to 'form' itself and needs only the most necessary support from the winemaker," says Jean-Michel. Deiss wines excel through precision, concentration and a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. Despite Jean-Michel's specific views, the wines cannot be called 'difficult', and they therefore have a wide range of enthusiasts.