In common with tight-knit communities the world over, there are several common surnames in Alsace – including those which are common affixed to the door of wineries – so often first names are added to surnames, or another family name such as a mother or wife’s maiden name, to distinguish one Sipp or Meyer from another.
Dopff & Irion are based in Riquewihr, a contender for prettiest village in Alsace (and that’s saying something!) and certainly one of the most visited. As alluded to above, they have a (semi) namesake in their home village with the respected producer Dopff au Moulin, a specialist in crémant.
Dopff & Irion have 27 hectares of vines at Riquewihr – including those bottled as Château de Riquewihr – plus the Clos Château d’Isenbourg near Rouffach. Their holdings break down as three key varieties: Riesling 35.8%, Gewurztraminer 29.4%, Pinot Gris 23.5%, plus smaller amounts of Pinot Noir 5.5% and Muscat 4.3%.
Cuvée René Dopff is the “everyday plus” label of Dopff & Irion; it’s not the best range they make but is of a high standard. There are seven single varietals in the range: the five mentioned just above plus Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc, these two I presume from bought in grapes.
Dopff & Irion Cuvée René Dopff Alsace Gewurztraminer 2015
Gewurztraminer is one of the most expressively aromatic grapes around, so needs to be handled with kid gloves during the wine making process. For this wine the press was deliberately set at low pressure to minimise extraction from the skins and fermentation was at a controlled temperature.
The depth of colour in the glass gives a strong indication that this is something with a bit of oomph. The nose is textbook Gewurz – Turkish delight (the rose flavoured one, not lemon) and lychees, with a little exotic spice. These notes follow through on the palate which is generous, rich and round. There’s some residual sugar but it’s certainly not “sugary”, still fresh with a crisp finish. The overall sensation is one of balance – often difficult to achieve with this grape – and excellence. The company’s website gives an ageing potential of five years for this wine, but it is nowhere near tired and has several years left in it.
- ABV: 13.5%
- RRP: €21.99
- Stockists: Vanilla Grape, Kenmare; JJ O’Driscoll, County Cork