|Last week we had the opportunity to meet the owner of Chateau D’Orschwihr and taste some of his wines at Nudeli restaurant in Delhi. Hubert Hartmann, earned a degree in oenology but worked in industry for a development bank for ten years before taking over his family business. The vineyards cover 23 hectares in the Alsace region of France and crop levels are kept 25-30% below the Alsace average. This yields wines with intense flavour and structure – something we noticed ourselves during the tasting.|
Chateau D’Orschwihr does not import into India currently and unlike many other winemakers, Hartmann is taking a wait and see approach. He wants to learn how the Indian market works and more importantly what the Indian consumer enjoys drinking before bringing a selection of his wines into the country. Two things about Chateau D’Orschwihr really impressed us.
Firstly, all their bottle labels except for one are made from recycled paper. They also show the amount of residual sugar in the wine helping wine drinkers make more informed choices. While these labels come off more easily, they are obviously more environmentally friendly.
And secondly, Chateau D’Orschwihr grows grass between the vine rows in most of their vineyards. The grass improves the soil, increases humus content and reduces the packing due to the tractors and washing away of the top soil in steep slopes. It also traps nitrogen, which is good for the vines.
Our tastings included several wines from the Alsace region and a few from Bordeaux where Chateau D’Orschwihr owns two vineyards. The two wines that stood out were the Gewurztraminer Bollenberg 2005 which was fruity and well balanced with good legs and the Pinot Gris Zinnkoepfle 2001 which was a medium sweet, late harvest wine and a perfect complement to a creamy North Indian dish.
Château d’Orschwihr goes back to the beginning of the Xlth century. The current owners purchased it in 1854, after the revolution. Watch this space for Chateau D’Orschwihr’s entry into India. Until then, try the wines on your next trip to London. In London they can be found in several Michelin star restaurants such as the Waterside Inn, Gordan Ramsay, Petrus Restaurant, Lords of the Manor Restaurant and at the Waldorf Astoria.
Chicago’s Everest which has India’s only Master of Wine as its Sommelier also carries Chateau D’Orschwihr wines.