Grand Cru


Westhalten & Soultzmatt

The Zinnkoepflé wines radiate an extraordinary intensity, just like its fossilised sun-filled limestone soil.

  • Soil type Limestone-sandstone
  • Surface area in hectares 71
  • Exposure South-West, South East
  • Village Westhalten & Soultzmatt
  • Altitude 200 to 440 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Gewurztraminer 60%
    • Pinot Gris 24%
    • Riesling 15%
    • Muscat 1%
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Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé

The wines

Zinnkoepflé soils sits upon shelly Muschelkalk limestone strewn with sandstone inclusions which provide aromatic finesse and remarkable acidity - the base for the superb intensity of these terroir wines. Their ageing potential can easily go beyond ten years!

The terroir-tie

The most visible grape variety in the Zinnkoepflé Grand Cru is Gewurztraminer planted over more than half the surface area producing consistently-delicious wines, vintage year after vintage year. They are aromatic, intense, generous and mellow, backed by a beautiful acidity which creates their particularity.

Wines are often marked by residual sugar and botrytis, except for those vinified as dry which express saline minerality.

The terroir markers are peonies, verbena and menthols as well as liquorice. The wines have a natural vanilla-hint and present a slightly smoky, salty and progressively delectable side.

This terroir is expressed through extraordinarily sophisticated wines.

Fils du soleil, le Zinnkoepflé produit des vins marqués par une maturité généreuse qui se traduit en bouche par des effluves de confit et des notes grillées. Simultaneously, the mouth structure reveals complex freshness. This duality bestows weight, finishing with a subtle, sweeping and highly precise minerality.
Riesling unfolds notes of citrus fruit peel giving a succulent sensation, a mere prelude to intense minerality. Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer couldn’t be happier as Zinnkoepflé simultaneously provides them with both a generous and delicious balance at all levels of grape maturity. It’s a terroir which naturally gives the opportunity of producing great overripe wines.

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

Choose and serve

Vintage years

Thanks to various methods, Zinnkoepflé wines are delicious at any time. When young, the characteristic essence of each grape variety along with ripening notes, makes these wines very enjoyable. After about 5 years, mineral intensity married with the wine structure makes wine-tasting highly gratifying. As for the overripe wines, they age brilliantly.

During early-ripening vintage years: the lively delicacy of these wines gives an astringency enhancing the fruit and sensual notes of these wines. Subtle minerality with a vibrant finish.

During late-ripening vintage years : the underlying tautness gives additional impetus to the minerality and provides intensity.

Wine and food pairing

The Riesling minerality pairs great with firm and refined-texture seawater fish. Sole, turbot, brill or scallops incorporate a mingling sensation from the maturity, expressing a beautiful symbiosis with the wines.

Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer allow dried fruit or fresh fruit-based desserts, mousse or biscuits to express themselves while remaining delicious.

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

Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle
Westhalten - Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle

Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé

The terroir

The nature

This terroir is the highest of the Alsace Grand Cru, and is marked by a Mediterranean-type climate while being ventilated by fresh air currents. These particularities allow grapes to become overripe and intense while simultaneously respecting the aromatic finesse of these grape varieties.


Zinnkoepflé is located in the central and widest part of the Rouffach-Guebwiller fault mosaics, behind the eastern fringes of the Strangenberg and Bollenberg hills.
It constitutes the southern extension of the Sandstone Coast, straight from north to south, from Husseren-Les-Châteaux to Westhalten. It’s an imposing hilly area created by the Marbach fault, one of the largest of the fault mosaics.


From a tectonic and geological standpoint, the region on either side of the Soultzmatt has collapsed even more inside the fault mosaic – it forms an extended north-west/south-east tectonic ditch (OHMBACH fault), crossed by numerous oftentimes orthogonal faults. Thus the lands from Middle Triassic (Muschelkalk) is currently located at the same altitudes as those of the Lower Triassic (Buntsandstein).
The entire Zinnkoepflé hill is composed of sandstone-limestone formations from the Lower and Middle Triassic period (Muschelkalk and Buntsandstein).


The two highest Vosges mountain peaks, the Petit Ballon (1267 metres) and the Grand Ballon (1424 metres) form a rampart against any threats wanting to disturb the southern climate of the Vallée Noble. There is reduced rainfall with about 280 mm: year during the growing period and 500 mm throughout the year. When it rains during the summer, it’s usually during stormy weather conditions.

>La faune et la flore méditerranéennes s’épanouissent de ce fait sur les terres maigres et calcaires des sommets entourant la vallée. Almond trees, ash oaks and yellow helianthemums grow alongside orchids, blood-red cranesbill, flax, and pasque flowers where cicada montanas, praying mantis and green lizards are right at home.

Toit du vignoble alsacien, le Zinnkoepflé, grâce à sa situation privilégiée, profite d’un climat semi continental chaud et aride dans la période estivale et permet à la treille de prospérer quasi jusqu’au sommet calcaire à environ 440 mètres. Vine flowering is a little later than certain early-ripening terroirs due to the vineyard layout slightly back from the Alsace plain. The low rainfall and alternating air currents which sweep across the valley daily in autumn allows for grape intensity and over-ripeness while simultaneously preserving their aromatic finesse.

Grape varieties

Gewurztraminer is present in the largest amount but historically, Sylvaner also had a good reputation on this terroir. The Grand Cru classification made Pinot Gris and Riesling become more prominently grown. Muscat is produced but to a lesser extent by some producers.

The people

Zinnkoepflé, «sun mount» is an extraordinary natural construction, patiently developed by the hands of wine-growers. Stones from ancient feudal structures are strewn along paths crossing the vineyards and support the terraces which are needed for farming.

Heritage transmission

Romans were present in the valley as attested by the Roman coins from the 4th century which were found near the Soultzmatt church. Knowing how much Romans liked to grow grapes, we can only imagine how attracted they must have been by the sunny hillsides of this valley. Since, the valley has always been lived in – sarcophagus from the 8th century and the impressive Roman bell-tower from the 12th century in Soultzmatt are proof of activity in this valley. It’s the Canon Médart Barth, in this book Der Rebau im Elsass, who provides us with the first written dates for the presence of wine in Soultzmatt and Westhalten according to various convent registers: in 1183 a document from Pope Lucius informs us that the chapter of Lautenbach owned vineyards in Soultzmatt.

En 1216 un document précise que Soultzmatt doit livrer annuellement à la cour du chapitre de Strasbourg 6 chariots de vin rouge provenant de la dime de leurs vignes. According to a study by the Rouffach historical society, it was the presence of about sixty noble families which led the village priests in 1587 and in the following years, to give themselves the title of Vicarius in Nobili Valle Sulzmattensi and to note down the Bourgeois who died in the death register as Concivis in Nobili Valle Sulzmatt, hence the name of Vallée Noble, updated during the 1960’s.

>Les premiers écrits des 12ème et 13ème siècles citent le coteau du Zinnkoepflé sous des noms évocateurs : An der Sommerhalden, sun hill or Am Berg-Im Berg. The lieu-dit «Zinigköpflein» appeared on the Soultzmatt valley map in 1760, and referred to the stubble fields and pastures on the peak as well as a small area of the land to the south. The first appellation of this lieu-dit can be found in a sales deed from May 28, 1700 where a land is mentioned near the «Sinnenköpflein» stubble fields. Throughout the centuries, the spelling varied from Zinikopf to Zinnenkoepfelen and from Sonnkopf to Sonnenfoepfelein during the 18th and 19th centuries.

L’origine du nom reste imprécise : est-ce en rapport avec le feu de la St-Jean qui était fêté annuellement sur le sommet et dont l’origine remonte à la célébration du culte du soleil par les païens au moment du solstice d’été ? Sonne in German designates the sun and kopfle the peak or the head hence the name Sonnenkoepfle, sun mount (peak) which gave the name of Zinnkoepflé a little later.
Or is it related to the large presence of entrochite limestone, fossils which compose, like vertebra, the extended stem and arms of St. Cuthbert’s beads of sea lilies (or sea daffodils)? Their radiant shape is reminiscent of a sun dial, hence the name Sinneles (Sunna Irhla or Sinnla - small suns) given to these fossils abundantly found on the hilltop, formerly called Sinnekoepflé.