Domaine François Schmitt Gastronomic Wines from Alsace

Frédéric and Myriam Schmitt
Myriam and Frédéric Schmitt

François Schmitt took over the family winery in Alsace, Domaine François Schmitt, joined by his son, Frédéric, in 1998, and his wife, Myriam in 2010. I spoke with Frédéric and Myriam about their wines.  Frédéric views their wines as gastronomic, built for food.  Today I tasted all still wines, but they also make a significant amount of cremant wines.  One of their vineyards coincides with the Pfingstberg Grand Cru site.

The Pfingstberg and Bollenberg Vineyard Sites

These two vineyard sites cover 80% of their production.

According to the winery, “Pfingstberg wines are highly complex, but austere when young so they always need one or two years before you start to open them. Their long, delicate acidity levels ensure they can be kept for a long time. These characteristics are partly due to the forest on top of the summit which ensures that Pfingstberg is provided with a constant supply of water and remains consistently cool

Bollenberg is in many ways a very distinct hill. Rising to an altitude of 360m, this limestone massif nestled between the Vosges plain and the foothills comprises some 300 hectares of vines and enjoys a serious reputation. on the western part facing the village of Orschwihr, the soil is marly limestone. On the medium to steep slopes, heavy warm soils benefit from good reserves of water. Westerly winds which sweep through the village rise back up these slopes, regularly ventilating this hillside. The wines are rich, opulent and exuberant. The botrytis which causes this very desirable noble rot develops easily. The majority of the eastern part is characterised by the thinness of the soil, and sometimes even of the bedrock. Scarce water resources on this very sunny terroir produce really robust, aromatic, full-bodied wines with massive acidity. The wines here are more austere than those on the western slopes or other sections where there is more clay, but they have a very strong personality.”

My Wine Tasting Notes

Their vineyards and wines are certified biodynamic.

Domaine François Schmitt wines from Alsace
Domaine François Schmitt wines from Alsace

Domaine François Schmitt Grand Cru Pfingstberg Riesling 2018 –  This Grand Cru vineyard is 200m from the hotter Bollenberg vineyard site.  2018 was a hotter vintage according to Frederic but this site is in a cooler area.  This wine has a medium-minus bright lemon colour.  Lighter aromas of pears and oak.  Medium body, round and smooth with a thicker mouthfeel.  Medium acidity.  Pears and roasted pears on the palate with stony minerality on the mid-palate to the finish.  Medium length with a mix of bitterness and tart fruit flavours on the finish.  Frederic characterizes this wine as being mineral and vertical. A wine suitable for ageing. 4.5 stars

Domaine François Schmitt Effenberg Riesling 2019 – This vineyard faces south and is made of limestone soil.  This wine has a medium-plus golden colour.  Bright citrus, marmalade, honey, peaches, and stoniness on the nose.  Medium body, lean with medium-plus acidity.  Medium length with tart citrus and stony minerality on the finish. I suggest cellaring this wine for 5 years for best enjoyment. 4 stars4.5 stars

Domaine François Schmitt Bollenberg, La Colline Aux Cailloux Assemblage 2020 – A blend of all seven Alsatian grapes (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sylvaner, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris). The grapes are barrel fermented using neutral barrels.  This wine has a medium-plus lemon colour. Pronounced lemon, rose, lychee, vanilla and peach aromatics.  Dry, full body, soft and round with medium-plus acidic prickle. Stone fruit flavours plus some grape stem bitterness on the palate.  Bright flavours.  Medium-plus length with a tart finish. 4.5 stars

Domaine François Schmitt Bollenberg, Cuvée Marie France, Gewurztraminer 2020 – Frederic noted that the Bollenberg terroir tends to impart some spiciness to wines.  The soil is a mix of limestone, clay, and iron.  This wine has a medium-plus lemon colour.  Nice medium-intensity aromas of floral and lychee. Medium sweetness, round and soft, with a lighter mouthfeel and lower acidity.  Floral, lychee and honey flavours with spiciness toward the finish.  A dry finish. 4 stars

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

I cannot find their wines in Canada yet.  This is a great opportunity for some agencies across Canada to represent their biodynamic wines.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.