Are wisdom and extravagance compatible? Yes: at Domaine Jean-Claude Buecher!
A meeting with Franck is above all an offbeat moment and derision! But under this casual appearance hides the great rigor of a passionate winemaker.
In the early 80s, Jean-Claude and Sylviane, Franck’s parents, specialized in the production of Crémant d’Alsace. They devote themselves exclusively to this discipline.
Franck settled with them in 2005 and gradually distilled his thoughts on technical choices. Uncompromising, meticulous, hardworking,.. adjectives are missing to describe the care with which Franck seeks to improve. He gradually oriented production towards a model usually reserved for great white wines.
Low yields, demanding terroirs, manual work, these are the choices that are necessary.
Franck favours plots of Grand-Cru, qualitative localities and an average farm close to 40 hl/ha.
Before having bubbles, sparkling wine is a white wine that must be made from grapes ripe enough to contain the mineral elements that will participate in the complexification of the acidity of the wine, persistence, holding in the mouth and of course preservation. We are far from acidic wine with bubbles!
The estate has converted to Organic Agriculture and then Biodynamics and is part of an agroforestry reflection. The harvest is manual, the pressing slow and progressive. The musts ferment without the addition of yeast or sulfur. The farms are done on lees and the remaining sugars help to take foam. Breeding on slats is long, minimum 24 months but sometimes up to 5 years!
But now, the Domaine has some plots of grape varieties not authorized for the production of Crémant d’Alsace, such as gewurztraminers that ended up on the bulk market.
Pirouettes began this way for Franck: a maceration of Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst from a 70-year-old plot.The terroir composed of sandstone and the altitude tempers the exuberance of the grape variety. Maceration lightens the richness of gewurz and gives it minerality and elegance.