Domaine Frederic Mochel
Located in the Bas-Rhin of Alsace, Domaine Frederic Mochel resides in the village of Traenheim, 20km west of Strausbourg where the family has been making wine for 14 generations, since 1669. Using organic and biological products, the family sustainably farms their 10ha, five of which are of the Altenberg de Bergbieten Grand Cru. “In the past,” said Guillaume, “growers didn’t want the steep vineyards, because they were too hard to work. They preferred the plains. [But] my grandfather had a good nose and he got the Grand Cru 5ha.” A forward thinking man, his grandfather was also the first generation to start bottling the family’s wine.
Manually farming Grand Cru Riesling vines that are now nearly 60-years-old, and some of the oldest plantings in the Altenberg de Bergbieten, Guillaume said, “We have flowers in the rows, not to be in competition with the vines, but to draw insects…for a natural bio system.” And they plow every other row, leaving grass to grow so that the vines yield fewer leaves, more aerated bunches and smaller grapes. Their other 5ha are planted to a number of varietals, vines that are on average, 30-years-old. “We know from experience that each varietal is suited to a particular section of the vineyard,” said Guillaume.
Located in Bergheim, the Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru totals 35.06ha and has been “a true Grand Cru since the twelfth century,” writes Tom Stevenson in The Wines of Alsace. Here the steep, south facing slopes reside at 220-320 meters, with a “thin topsoil of very stony, red-colored, fossil-rich calcareous-marl over limestone bedrock…Frederic Mochel has always produced the finest Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim.”
Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru
As our youngest producer in Alsace, Guillaume (33) studied viticulture and oenology at the “Lycée” de Rouffach for five years, then travelled to Italy and New Zealand and worked with his father Frederic, before taking over the estate in 2001. “With us,” said Guillaume, “the biggest part is nature. We just accompany the process. We just do as it comes.”
In the cellar, all of Mochel’s whites are fermented in large foudres with naturally occurring yeasts. Vinifying and producing gastronomical wines to pair with foods, Guillaume added, “We make them as dry as possible, striving for finesse and elegance.” Of the 2010 vintage Riesling, which we currently stock, Guillaume said that he prefers its magnificent acidity. “It’s a classic vintage,” he added, a great wine for aging and for pairing with a multitude of dishes.