Grand Cru



Cultivating the affluence of their terroir, the older generations of Schlossberg wine-makers adopted an avant-gardist approach. This respectful work is pursued today, producing delicate wines where the Riesling mark and subtlety magnificently unravels.

  • Soil type Granite
  • Surface area in hectares 80
  • Exposure South
  • Village Kientzheim
  • Altitude 230 to 400 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 76%
    • Pinot Gris 10%
    • Gewurztraminer 13%
    • Muscat 1%
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Grand Cru Schlossberg

The wines

The wines here are finely light and floral. They are distinguished by the freshness they draw from this great granite terroir.

The terroir-tie

The typicity of Schlossberg wines is expressed by a light characteristic with fine acidity, floral aromas, great delicacy and a harmonious and racy structure.

They reach their plenitude after a couple of years with ultimately a certain minerality and stoniness. This is not minerality from natural ageing but from the terroir-specific fresh granite.

This indisputable master here is Riesling.

The capacity of Schlossberg to maintain heat and mineral richness reflects the personality of this grape variety. With a long growing season, Riesling finds this terroir to have ideal ripening conditions.

As for the Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, they are often very light. The sandy granite provides aromatic purity and great elegance, without the opulent side which can be found, for example, in marl-limestone soil.

Schlossberg is a complex and noble Grand Cru.

Its structure expresses the close combination between light and fresh mouthfeel to strict but delicious intensity. The saline potential of this Grand Cru is generally savoured on its length, making the granite minerality come forward.

Riesling is here in abundance, characterized by scents of citrus and fresh herbs. Pinot Gris offers a range of fresh white fruits and fresh almonds whereas Gewurztraminer with fresh fruit and flowers.

Overripe wines have a fantastic energy boosted by a precise and succulent exuberance.

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

Choose and serve

Vintage years

1925, 1934, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1976, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2007 and 2008

Even less spectacular vintage years such as 1965 and 2006 still have something to be proud about!

Schlossberg Grands Crus can be easily kept for twenty years and today, the vintage years of 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1996 are delicious.

These are wines which open up fairly easily after three years and which have a great ageing potential. The latter is distinguished by intense saline minerality without the hydrocarbon notes often perceptible with Riesling.

During early-ripening vintage years : A young structure. The tender acidity of the wines accentuates the light, full-bodied impression in the middle palate. An immediate charm of citrus notes and white fruits can be seen.

During late-ripening vintage years: They are more reserved. These wines evoke citrus fruit peel with a finer exuberance, stimulating an expression of minerality but without every losing their freshness.

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

Food wine pairing

With a Schlossberg Riesling: steamed or pan-fried scallops, grilled fish, firm or salty fish like sea bass or red mullet in a light sauce.

With a dry Schlossberg Pinot Gris: chicken breast, baked sea bream.

With an elegant, aromatic Schlossberg Gewurztraminer: Asian food, cheeses, desserts.

The omnipresent salinity in these wines allow them to accompany extremely varied dishes. This salty note backs the ingredients to enhance their aromatic finesse. The typical astringency of these wines allows them to accompany seawater or fresh-water fish and to also pair wonderfully with offal or even asparagus.

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


Grand Cru Schlossberg

The terroir

The nature

The air element rules this terroir: the wind blows and dries the berries. The air penetrates into the mysterious soil and the primarily sandy components of Schlossberg develop very precise wines.


At eight kilometres from Colmar, Schlossberg overlooks the Weiss valley from the outskirts of the town of Kientzheim up to the medieval Kaysersberg castle. The 80.28 hectares of this Grand Cru sit on a very steep hillside which required terraces to be built. Over a thousand metres of backing walls built in the Middle Ages have since patiently been restored.

Harmoniously arranged, the plots are covered by a succession of terraces, between 230 and 400 m of altitude. The majority of the Grand Cru faces due south on the Bixkoepfel hillside. A small detached part looks towards the east.


The material composing the parent rock results from metamorphosic crystallisation of migmatites (blend of gneiss and granite) and biotite granite from Kaysersberg.

The soil depths are general between 30 and 40 cm and don’t exceed 125 cm. The soil particle-size distribution is with sandy-loam earth poor in fine elements, over 50 microns, but rich in sand.

This coarse and sandy-clay soil creates a rich surface with a wide diversity of mineral components (like potassium, magnesium, fluorine or phosphorus) and low water retention.

The pH expresses weak acidity, between 6.1 and 6.9. There is a reasonable amount of phosphoric acid and potash which enriches the soil thanks to the varied mineral-specific levels. However the organic content matter is fairly low. The soils along steep slopes are reinforced by the installation of terraces which reduce erosion risks. However, the organic matter content is fairly low.


Sheltered by the Vosges mountain chain against bad weather regularly coming from the west, Schlossberg is set in a particularly mild area with an annual average over 10°C and rainfall reduced to 500 or even 600 mm/year.

Furthermore, Schlossberg benefits from winds favourable for wine-growing. At the end of August, the fresh air flows from the bottom of the Kaysersberg valley ventilating the vineyard and largely participating in the slow ripening of berries which consequently help produce very fine aromas.

Finally, the steep slopes compete for the optimum absorption of sunrays.

Grape varieties

Riesling is mostly planted on the hillsides of the Schlossberg Grand Cru, admirably expressing the mineral potential of this granite terroir.

It’s this extraordinary harmony between the earth and grapes which the successive generations of wine-makers have always strived to preserve and promote by making Riesling the main focus on the Schlossberg Grand Cru for over a century!

To a lesser extent, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat are also present on this terroir, mainly in fewer parcels.

The Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles which mention the grape variety, regularly produce exceptional wines, very rich and complex, relying on a delicate and structed acidity.

The people

Nobody can be indifferent when admiring Schlossberg, the castle hill, or the valley where it sits. Since at least the 14th century, this area has been greatly admired and revered, reflected by its accession of Grand Cru status by wine-makers during the 20th century. In this capacity, Schlossberg played a precursory role among the Great Alsace wines.

Heritage transmission

In Kientzheim, the Gallo-Roman colonists settled at the crossroads of two roman roads. They were the first to plant vineyards on the sunny hillsides of the Weiss valley overhang. These events apparently date back to the time of Emperor Probus – around 50 years BC.

Around the year 1180, Barberossa (Frederick 1st), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, crowned in 1155, appropriated a large number of goods, including the donation of an old possession of the Etival monastery (Vosges), quantities of vineyard parcels for which documents would later indicate that they were attributed to the Kaysersberg castle property – hence the origin of the name Schlossberg, castle hill.

The lieu-dit of Schlossberg was identified as of the 14th century. At this time, it was already referred to in property transaction documents. At the end of the 19th century, Schlossberg wines were sold in Rhine wine bottles.

Au XXème siècle, la reconnaissance du site, puis du Grand Cru se fera en plusieurs étapes décisives : en 1928, tout d’abord, les vignerons déterminent des règles de récolte au moyen d’une convention écrite – unanimement respectée. A set of rigorous requirements which Michel Mastrojanni fully understands: This unprecedented approach actually helped Schlossberg be the first lieu-dit, and the only at the time, to benefit in 1975 from the official Alsace Grand Cru appellation (Michel Mastrojanni, Le grand livre des vins d’Alsace, Solar, 1993, p.117). This convention was then consecrated by a decree in 1992, formally attesting its identity of Grand Cru.

Beloved vineyards and land

Schlossberg is on a steep slope and requires terraced farming. Its average plantation density is 5000 vines per hectare. There is a natural grass cover and light tillage and hoeing is undertaken in the very hilly parts of the Grand Cru.

The terraces and small walls impose additional layout and maintenance work for wine-growers. Respecting the work of bygone generations should be perpetuated as actually their approach was rather avant-gardist considering it was based on a quest for quality.

It’s within this same framework of respecting the earth that wine-growers practice either organic or integrated farming.

Thus the intimate relationship between man and vines express a pursuit of purity relating to its production. Wine-growers savour the grapes, monitoring the ripening, sugar and acidity to extract the quintessence. To obtain the fruit, wine-makers must observe the vines and imagine the wine they want to make. And these dialogues are never the same from year to year.

It’s actually during «average» years that Schlossberg wines reach exemplary balance.

A forward-looking future

The Schlossberg Grand Cru horizon is a perspective which escapes wine-makers today. They are at the prelude of a work which they don’t know will be inspired by the past, absorbed by the future or composed of an alliance of the two. The answer is undoubtedly found in their ability to transform the rich terroir into a flow of quality-bearing dynamics.

For now, wine-makers defend the different grape varieties in the Schlossberg along with their diverse aromas which define the Alsace identity.