Domaine Mélanie Pfister, Dahlenheim

Domaine Mélanie Pfister, Dahlenheim

The Pfister domaine is situated in the village of Dahlenheim at the northern tip of Alsace, just west of Strasbourg. This corner of Alsace has a cooler climate than further south in the Haut Rhin and the limestone-dominated vineyards are perfectly situated to produce fresh, energetic wines. Mélanie is the eighth generation of her family to run the estate and took over from her father in 2006 after completing an impressive number of internships at Zind-Humbrecht, Méo-Camuzet, Cheval Blanc, d’Yquem and Craggy Range. In 2010, the domaine embarked on a huge project to build an impressive new winery which now enables them to vinify all their 43 parcels separately. The majority of the wines are vinified in stainless steel to retain focus and purity, although the Pinot Noir ‘Hüt’ is aged in old Méo-Camuzet barrels. In 2018, the domaine decided to convert entirely to organic practices and they were fully certified in 2021. They also use biodynamic preparations in the vineyards with each site having a personalised recipe depending on the specific requirements.

Mélanie makes two magnificent Rieslings, ‘Berg’ and ‘Engelberg’ which are both entirely dry. The ‘Berg’ cuvée comes from two hillside vineyards, Auf dem Berg and Silberberg, where the soil is a mix of clay and limestone and delivers a tight, fine and focused wine. ‘Engelberg’ (Angel’s Hill) is one of Alsace’s finest Grand Cru vineyards. This is a really special plot with marl topsoil sitting on top of hard limestone. The Pfisters own almost two hectares in the middle of the south-facing slope and produce just around 300 cases a year. ‘Paar’ is the German word for pair and this wine is made from a pair of varieties, Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois. The two blend well together, with freshness from the Pinot Blanc and weight from the Auxerrois. ‘Furd’ is a Pinot Gris and comes from the ‘Furdenheimer Tal’ vineyard. This has a rich, aromatic depth but still retains the Pfister purity. The ‘Breit’ is the impressive Crémant d’Alsace, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois. This is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years and the dosage is just 3g/l. The ‘Macération’ Pinot Gris orange wine is macerated for fifteen days and aged in old oak barrels.