Marie Zusslin and her brother Jean-Paul are the 13th generation of their family to make wine in Orschwihr and tend Riesling vines in their terraced monopole lieu-dit vineyard, Clos Liebenberg. In addition to the sandstone-based clos, they farm two other hillside terroirs, Bollenberg (iron-rich clay and limestone with marine deposits) and Grand Cru Pfingstberg (clay and sandstone). Marie plows by horse—a Comtoise darling named Sesame—and has worked the whole of their parcels under biodynamic regimen since 1997 (certified ECOCERT, Demeter and Biodyvin).
All harvest and cellar work is carried out manually, gently and by gravity. Whites are whole-cluster pressed and fermented using only indigenous yeasts. They’re then racked into the traditional Alsatian large, oval-shaped oak casks and are bottled after twelve to twenty-four months of aging, whenever the Zusslin’s deem them ready. No synthetic chemicals or treatments are used at any point in the growing cycle or during vinification, and a handful of cuvées are bottled without any added SO2. All of the wines are dry with the exception of late harvest (vendanges tardives) cuvées, made only in certain vintages. The way they see it: they get healthy grapes from terroirs rich in biodiversity, and those grapes express their complexities in the finished wine just fine on their own!
Brut Zéro Crémant d’Alsace
varieties: pinot auxerrois, chardonnay, riesling soil type: sand, loam, diatomaceous earth
avg vine age: 10 years
The base wines for this traditional method sparkler are vinified the same way the still wines are: using indigenous yeasts and large format Alsatian casks for aging. The yeasts used for second fermentation (in bottle) are from the Zusslin’s own cultivated starter, wherein indigenous yeasts from the base wine are kept active. Zéro here means exactly that: no added anything… neither dosage nor SO2.
Clos Liebenberg Monopole Alsace Riesling
variety: riesling soil type: sandstone avg vine age: 48 years
Clos Liebenberg is a walled and terraced 8-acre, southeast-facing parcel that abuts the Grand Cru Pfingstberg, and Zusslin is the only estate to work with its fruit. Its fractured sandstone soils are home to a wealth of flora and fauna, including bees, pear trees and grazing sheep. Riesling grown here is taut, mineral and as highly regarded as the area’s Grand Crus.