Grand Cru



Purely granite!

  • Soil type Granite
  • Surface area in hectares 56,20
  • Exposure East / South-East
  • Village Dambach-La-Ville
  • Altitude 220 to 330 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Gewurztraminer 49%
    • Riesling 27%
    • Pinot Gris 22%
    • Muscat 2%
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Grand Cru Frankstein

The wines

Frankstein wines have an ascending, chiselled and structuring acidity which enhances the aftertaste. The minerality of the Grand Cru is reflected by this unusual, elegant saline sensation which gives the wine its balance and length.

The terroir-tie

Wine specificities

Riesling is all about finesse. It develops floral aromas: elderflowers, acacia and almond flowers. On the palate, it reveals refined flavours of blackcurrant buds and fresh mint. The wines are straightforward, pure with mouth-watering and crystalline minerality.

Gewurztraminer is very elegant. On the nose it has aromas of pear and pineapple. On the palate there are spicy flavours of cardamom, saffron and grilled almonds. Even at levels of heightened maturity, this grape variety maintains an exceptional freshness, backed by hints of menthol. The fresh and rising acidity of this wine is reminiscent of the genuine terroir. After a few years, the aromas of old rose from its early youth open up to the fragrance of resin and pine honey.

Pinot Gris from Frankstein is characterised by its gourmet balance. It sports the terroir with its finesse and mentholated aromas. Here, the typical smoky flavours of this variety give way to exceptionally clear and light floral notes.

Muscat reveals crispy fruitiness and pleasant floral aromas. It also elegantly unravels into typical mentholated notes of this Grand Cru.

Frankstein combines exuberance and fullness

The palate unravels with intensity. The acid structure is marked by its integrity. Linear and pure, it is counterbalanced by delicate and tender fullness. This sort of body provides a fondant feeling, prelude to a wine which lingers on expressive minerality.

Les agrumes, et notamment le pamplemousse, marquent les vins. Riesling finishes the palate with a slight noble mouth-watering bitter taste. As to the Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, they are marked with hints of cereal and are very light.

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

Choose and serve

Keeping potential

Frankstein wines are delicious when young with their pleasant fruitiness. But you must wait about ten years or so to allow the terroir to fully express itself.

Connoisseurs of mineral wines will wait until their apogee, which is after around fifteen years.

It’s a Grand Cru which truly manifests itself after two or three years

Then it stabilises for at least eight years, after which it discloses all its minerality.

During early-ripening vintage years: the wines are subtle, tender and delicious, but maintain sparkle and intensity.

During late-ripening vintage years: the intensity brings on citrus fruits – either the skin or flesh – providing a most majestic expression. The wines have refined minerality and exceptionally good length.

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

Wine and food pairing

The Frankstein Grand Cru wines are cut-out for haute cuisine. Wines produced in this intense granite terroir are matched for full-flavoured and refined dishes.

Le Riesling Grand Cru Frankstein se marie parfaitement avec les poissons de rivière, goûteux mais peu puissants, tels le sandre ou la truite. Accompanied with a simple, lemony or Riesling sauce, these wines marvellously reveal the crystalline minerality of the Grand Cru, which in turn emphasises the outstanding fish flavours. It also pairs wonderfully with a matelote, pike quenelles, crayfish or stir-fried scallops with a zest of lemon.
Fish tartars or sashimi are equally perfect to highlight the Frankstein minerality.

When being paired with chicken vol-au-vents or poultry, the wines from great vintage years (such as 2009 or 2006), bring out the acidic and round character of the wine and affirm those of the dishes. Veal cooked in a blanquette, in osso bucco or à la Milanaise also proves to be an ideal match.
When older, this granite Riesling is delicious with cheeses such as Parmesan, Abondance, Salers or a Vieux Comté as well mountain-produced Tommes.

Pinot Gris Frankstein Grand Cru requires slightly richer dishes, more likely to draw out its granite character Smoked salmon, feathered game, poultry in morel sauce, quail or sweetbreads are just some dishes propitious to its minerality without ever dominating the wine. If you wait one more year, this wine ages and is great with a pan-fried foie gras, duck à l’orange or a tajine.

Le Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Frankstein, aux arômes si expressifs, tout en délicatesse, est dans son élément avec un magret de canard aux litchis ou un curry. Foie-gras stuffed quails will also reveal all its splendour. Daring highly-seasoned soya sauce sushi is also worth the experience. This wine goes perfectly with strongly-flavoured cheeses like an Alsace Munster or any blue cheeses. It can also be served with Kougelhopf or brioche.

Frankstein wines’ delicate exuberance bestows a welcomed lightness to rich dishes

Traditional French haute cuisine finds these wines to be a great partner: frog legs, fish quenelles and fine deli meats all pair wonderfully with this Grand Cru. With Pinot Gris, any confit meats (lamb or duck), will reserve some delicious surprises.

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


Grand Cru Frankstein

The terroir

The nature

The site’s geographical granite unity is a major feature for this Grand Cru overlooking Dambach-la-Ville.


Frankstein Grand Cru groups together four hillsides dominating the village of Dambach-la-Ville. The preferred south to south-east exposures were carefully delimited to best enhance the full quintessence of this terroir.


The essential particularity of Frankstein resides in its geological layout: here both the soil and sub-soil are granite. The substrate is very light, stony, sandy and not very deep, often with the parent rock being visible on the surface.

The granite composition of Dambach-la-Ville is characterised by the presence of four minerals:

  • quartz, pure silica, acidic in nature
  • white mica (muscovite), harder than the black, which breaks up into silver chips
  • black mica (biotite) which dissolves
  • feldspar, which transforms into layers of clay over a cycle of several thousand years

The granite substrate in Frankstein is like a rock which decomposes on the surface due to frost and thawing along with the soil microbial life. This results in a mixture of rocks and sand, a compound which is called decomposed granite. When the parent rock deteriorates, it releases minerals. For example, mica has a laminated structure rather like clay. In the presence of water, these layers expand and release their inner elements notably iron and magnesium. These granite-specific minerals can be found in the wines, bestowing a very characteristic fine and mouth-watering minerality.

Par ailleurs, ces sols légers ont une très faible réserve utile en eau. Fortunately, the Dambach-le-Ville granite is very cracked, therefore allowing the roots to dig deep-down to find the nutritive elements as well as the much-needed water.

L’arène granitique du Grand Cru est peu pourvue en matière organique. The «under nourished» vines produce small but highly concentrated grapes. The light soil limits the yields, facilitating concentration in the berries.

The overlapping of sand, stones and rocks creates a very favourable draining effect for the healthiness of grapes, allowing Frankstein wines to reach optimum ripeness without botrytis.


The Bernstein mountain overlooks the terroir and protects it from west winds.

Furthermore, the south and south-east exposure brings light and heat, essential for the homogeneous grape development over all the parcels. Throughout the day, the varied-texture rocks store the heat to redistribute it during the night, making Frankstein a warm and early-maturing terroir.
During the time preceding harvest, the heat contained in granite rocks boosts the grape ripening.

The people

The Confrérie des Bienheureux du Frankstein (wine guild) reflects the prestige of this Grand Cru which dates back to Middle Age monasteries. Today the wine-makers are committed to preserving and embellishing this generous nature which has been bestowed upon them!

Heritage transmission

Documents from 1292 indicate that the Saint-Agnès monastery in Strasbourg had some Am Frankenstein vines. But this wasn’t the only place. As for the 12th century, the Strasbourg Cathedral chapter established its administrative headquarters in the fortress and the various bishops at that time relentlessly fought to save this strategic site and the vineyard. In 1328, Berthold von Buscheck, rival of the Counts of Wurtemberg in the feud to occupy the most select vineyards of the region, fortified the village of «Tambach» and promoted it to the rank of city.

Victor Canales

Some texts also mention that as of 1452, the Unterlinden Abbey in Colmar and the bishopric of Strasbourg had Tambach vineyards.

On this Grand Cru there is a close tie between the virtues of the terroir, the creative inspiration of the wine-makers and the pleasure of sharing what they do. Boasting know-how transmitted from their predecessors, the wine-makers of today want to perpetuate the knowledge and recognition of Frankstein singularity. This is the only Grand Cru in Alsace with a Confrérie working along these same lines. This is the Confrérie des Bienheureux du Frankstein, created in 1990.

Beloved vineyards and land

Frankstein wine-growers share a deep aspiration to be in harmony with the environment and to give their vineyards specific attention. They therefore drew-up a Work Charter which places environmental-consideration at the core of their actions with an implicit desire to let this exceptional terroir fully express itself.
To maintain healthy soil, wine-makers decided to keep grass covers between the vine-rows and to forbid any usage of chemical fertilisers. The preservation and upkeep of the bushes and small walls strewn around the Grand Cru beautify the landscape and sustain the biodiversity.