Grand Cru

Brand

Turckheim

A powerful dragon apparently fertilised this sunny terroir with its blood, giving birth to majestic and delicate wines.

  • Soil type Granite
  • Surface area in hectares 57,95
  • Exposure South, South-East
  • Village Turckheim
  • Altitude Up to 380 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 41%
    • Gewurztraminer 31%
    • Pinot Gris 25%
    • Muscat 3%
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Grand Cru Brand

The wines

Brand is a combination of integrity and mineral sparkle.

Brand is a combination of integrity and mineral sparkle.

The palate is structured by a straightforward and willowy freshness giving the taster a brilliant saline sensation. Aromas of citrus fruit and aromatic herbs – notably of lemongrass – are elegantly and progressively released, with an incredibly long length.

Les Riesling déclinent un « esprit de caillou » associé à des notes d'agrumes – chair ou zeste.

Muscat wines develop floral, peppery notes of fragrant plants (chlorophyll).

Pinot Gris wines are marked by fresh pepper, whereas Gewurztraminer wines remain fresh, often developing spring white-flowers hints and litchis.

Romain ILTIS
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

The terroir-tie

Some memorable vintage years

  • 1959: a dry year as after a big rainfall on July 11, it didn’t rain again until October. Very good quality. Very good quality.
  • 1966: hail storm at midnight at Fête-Dieu, flooded cellars. Great harvest with good quality.
  • 1979: very good year from both a quality and quantity standpoint.
  • 1986: lots of snow during the winter reaching the first wires in the vineyard. Numerous parcels were only harvested in November for overripe grapes intended for the prestigious Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles.
  • 1997: early harvest, all the grape varieties have record ripening-levels and great sugar/acid balances. A historic vintage year.
  • 2003: with a scorching summer, this vintage years will remain in the annals of the Vins d’Alsace. The last time there were such comparable weather conditions dates back to 1540!

In the cellar

It’s a great Grand Cru which opens-up fairly quickly.
The matter-specific integrity encourages an early combination (noticeable as of three to four years of ageing) of the aromatic expression of the grape varieties and the terroir sparkle.

During early-ripening vintage years: the wine matter is slightly more intense during these years as Brand reacts rapidly to temperature change. Notes of aromatic herbs or dry herbal teas are detectable, completed by candied citrus fruits (for example lemon) in the Riesling, and a grilled character (like almonds) in Pinot and Gewurztraminer wines.

During late-ripening vintage years: the acidity is more discernible, ample and straightforward. Hints of citrus fruit flesh or fresh white fruits are released from the wines which have a refreshing, almost mentholated finish (Muscat). A great mineral intensity deeply settles in with a pleasant finish.

Romain ILTIS

Choose and serve

Quelques millésimes mémorables

  • 1959 : année sèche, après une grosse pluie le 11 juillet, il ne pleut plus jusqu’en octobre. Très bonne qualité.
  • 1966 : orage de grêle à minuit à la Fête-Dieu, caves inondées. Belle récolte de belle qualité.
  • 1979 : très bonne année au niveau qualitatif comme au niveau quantitatif.
  • 1986 : neige importante en hiver atteignant les premiers fils dans les vignes. De nombreuses parcelles n’ont été récoltées qu’en novembre pour les raisins de surmaturation destinés aux prestigieuses vendanges tardives et sélections de grains nobles.
  • 1997 : vendanges précoces, tous les cépages présentent des maturités record et de très bons équilibres sucre/acidité. Un millésime historique.
  • 2003 : été caniculaire, ce millésime restera dans les annales des Vins d’Alsace. Il faut remonter à l’an 1540 pour retrouver des conditions comparables. 

Wine and food pairing

These wines are great with cooked or marinated freshwater fish, accompanied by a creamy sauce. The crystalline minerality enhances the taste of fish whereas the exuberant side softens the creamy viscosity or its accompaniments. Sea bream tartar and heavy cream, smoked trout or stewed eel would all elegantly suit the eloquence of this Grand Cru which could also perfectly suit Japanese cuisine, notably sushi.

Romain ILTIS
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Les accords majeurs

Ce sont des vins qui appellent les poissons d’eau douce, cuits ou marinés et accompagnés d’une sauce crémée. La minéralité cristalline exhausse le goût des poissons tandis que la tension apaise l’onctuosité de la sauce ou des accompagnements. Tartare de dorade et crème fraîche, truite fumée, ou anguille en matelote s’associeront avec élégance à l’expressivité de ce Grand Cru qui sera également très à son aise avec la gastronomie japonaise, les sushis notamment.

Romain ILTIS
Meilleur Sommelier de France 2012 & Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2015

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Grand Cru Brand

The terroir

The nature

Brand is an early-ripening, warm and sunny terroir. This lieu-dit is characterised by abundant light which is easily absorbed and transmitted by the soil. With the fiery sunshine and two mica-heated soils, these grapes are accustomed to optimum ripening conditions.

Location

When leaving the Munster valley, overlooking and corbelling the town of Turckheim, this Grand Cru boasts intense sunshine. Located on the Ribeauvillé fault mosaic, facing south and south-east, it extends up to an altitude of 380 metres.

Soil

Brand is a complex labyrinth of rocks laying on a substrate of granite, rocks composed of quartz, feldspar and mica, providing sandy and coarse soil. Turckheim granite has remarkable homogeneity and is made-up of two variably-small mica layers. This subsoil type has heating-effects on the roots which enhances the good ripening of grapes and malic acid combustion. It also creates a microclimate from the heat stored in the surface by its small rocks.

In the central part of the Grand Cru, granite rock is topped with a layer of arena 5 to 8 metres thick, thus allowing the root system to grow very deep.
The soil is acid, limestone-free and not very clayey. It is very poor in loam and is mostly composed of sand.

Dans la partie Est du Grand Cru, l’épaisseur de l’arène colluvionnée diminue et varie de 1 à 3 mètres. Due to all this, this area is richer in minerals and provides a better water supply to the vines.

Identique et uniforme dans l’ensemble, le sous-sol du Brand propose donc quelques variations lorsque l’on entre dans le détail de sa structure. Thus the east part produces sumptuous wines during good vintage years as besides the better water supply, the soil is also richer in minerals and fertilising components. Whereas the central part produces exceptional wines during wet years when the water supply is sufficient and better drained.

Microclimate

Forming a small depression open to the south, benefiting from maximum sunlight, this site is protected from the cold north and east winds by the surrounding dominating peaks, and the west winds – a heat sponge – by the Kirchberg and Eichberg. The annual temperature is about 10.5° and the remarkably-high sunlight at 1800 hours a year. As for the annual rainfall, it is about 600 mm. All of these elements contribute to making Brand an early-ripening, warm and sunny terroir.

Grape varieties

The granite soil of Brand is very opportune to producing great Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer wines.

Pinot Noir, even though not declared as a Grand Cru, expresses an astonishing complexity on this terroir. Other grape varieties (Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Chasselas, Auxerrois), are also planted in Brand but to a lesser extent.

Brand gives an average production as this terroir does not over-crop and for certain vintage years they even undertake bunch thinning.

The people

Zu Türckheim im Brand wächst der beste Wein im Land! As the saying goes. (In Turckheim in Brand, there is the best wine of the region!). This fire-clay land also has a wonderful ancestral reputation where legends and history intermingle.

Heritage transmission

Brand means «burned.» Also, according to legend, one day in this burning arena, the sun fought with a dragon who was forced to find refuge in an obscure cave located in the upper part of the hill. Symbolically, the Brand site has kept this fighting light and fire, bestowing the site and its wines with radiant vitality!

Ce site est identifié depuis au moins le Moyen Âge. At this time the vineyard was cleared using fire which is another possible explanation of this site, according to Michel Mastrojanni (Op. cit., pp. 128-129, and Bernadette Burn and Gilles Schmidt, Alsace, clos et grands crus, Jacques Legrand, 1989, p. 123).

A text by the historian Claude Muller confirms the presence of vineyards in Turckheim since the Middle Ages. On May 27, 742, a certain Rantwig gave half of its wine-making estate located in Turckheim to the Wissembourg monastery. In 898, the Munster abbey also received some of its vineyards. Around 1090, the wine drunk in Sainte-Croix-En-Plaine also came from Turckheim. Numerous traces of Turckheim-specific wine consumption by ecclesiastic Lords can be found, for example in 1258 in the Unterlinden monastery, in 1288 in the Klingenthal monastery in Basel, in 1328 in the Paris abbey, etc …

A manuscript from the 13th century, issued from the municipal library of Colmar, cites Brand for the first time. After this, its name frequently appears: in 1327, then in property registers in 1439, 1453 and 1482.

Une enquête de 1721 indique que le ban de Turckheim compte mille arpents de vignes plantés avant 1700, dont les deux tiers occupent la plaine et un tiers la montagne. The vines planted (from 1700-1721) come to about 46 additional acres (about 14 hectares).

The merchants mainly came from Switzerland, Delémont, Porrentuy, Belfort and Sundgau.

In the dictionary of the Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin (1685), Bacquol and Ristelhuber maintain that the «Turckheim vineyard was the most beautiful on the western banks of the Rhine. Its wines are very famous.»

On November 5, 1742, the town registry mentions the acquisition of 1911 measures of red wine.

The reputation of Turckheim wine is still confirmed during the 19th century. According to Leuchs, in the Vollständige Weinkunde (1829):

The best red wines are grown in Turckheim The 1846 harvest was reasonably abundant and produced some very good wine. During the whole summer, there was a lot of heat and drought. This is why the wine becomes so good, strong, sweet and fragrant. After the harvest it was very coveted by the Swiss …

This year (1848) produced good wine Throughout the entire year the weather was beneficial and the harvest promising.

A vision of the future

Wine-growers who produce Brand wine and grapes work together to reveal the extraordinary potential of Brand and to produce wines with a consistent quality, fully expressing the terroir.