June 1, 2012 Domaine Binner
Domaine Binner Saveurs
sylvaner, auxerrois, gewurztraminer, pinot gris
The meal at goosefoot started with a mere spoonful, an amuse-bouche.
From beginning to end an extraordinary dining experience in Chicago.
The restaurant is BYOB, and our pairing — an exceptional Alsatian white from Domaine Binner.
Domaine Binner Saveurs 2009
An aromatic apple-like nose, the gewurz coming through nicely, with notes of caramel. The taste is rich and multi-layered, but not sharply defined as you might expect of a Binner grand cru, for example. A true field blend. With a lightly-buttered, salt-flavoured finish. A perfect wine for a tasting menu, fitting the groove of so many dishes. Lovely! $
The inspired forces behind the domaine are Audrey and Christian Binner (left), with the whole Binner family an integral part of the domaine team. Set in the heart of Alsace, in the small town of Ammerschwihr, the property has been producing wine since 1770. Today the Binners, with a mere 11 hectares under vine, produce approximately 60 different bottlings, including a number of grand crus. There is a wide variety of terroirs, all with a foundation of granite soils. Vines are 30 years old on average, with some parcels more than 70.
Christian’s grandfather was one of the very few vineyard owners prior to WWII bottling his own wine. When the domaine fell to Christian’s father after the war he resisted the widespread move to chemical treatments and mechanization. And by the time Christian himself took over in 1998, the property already had a long history of organic cultivation. He went a step further and moved the winery to biodynamics, and with the advice of people like the late Marcel Lapierre of Beaujolais, learned vinification without the use of sulphur, and without filtering.
The creed of Domaine Binner: “Wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar.” It is the terroir that defines the wines. The owners are not looking for uniformity, but wines that reflect the soils and the growing condition of a given year. They harvest the grapes by hand along the steep vineyard slopes, and only when fully-ripened, which often means October and well past the time surrounding domaines conduct their harvests.
Pneumatic pressing is slow and gentle. No added yeast. Slow fermentation (often lasting more than six months) and at low temperatures, fermenting out as much sugar as possible. At least eleven months on the lees in large, century-old oak foudres, followed by an average of 3 years cellar aging in the bottles before release.
In the mind of Christian Binner, it is viticulture as nature intended, “…viticulture that respects humanity the most, as well as one’s health and that of our planet.”
Noble notions. Exceptional wines.