The 2008s from Alsace are excellent, racy wines with bright acidity and fine fruit center to balance. Drinking them will be easy, getting there wasn’t. The vintage started propitiously with a cold winter followed by a moderate spring. Bud break came right on time. A dry May saw the vines progressing well, with early flowering sites speeding through the process.
In the second week of June, rain and cool temperatures delayed the late flowering sites, but warmer temperatures later in the month precluded too much damage from colure of millerandage. In the end a decent sized crop was set.
The weather during July and August fluctuated between hot and dry, and cold and wet. July was the wetter month, and managing the vineyards was tricky and labor intensive. The vines were vigorous and disease was a concern. August was better, with the exception of some heavy rains mid-month.
September saw rain and low temperatures during the first two weeks, and dry conditions later in the month. Finally, October started out sunny and dry with good diurnal temperature swings that allowed ripening to proceed without loss of acids. Good weather prevailed until the third week of the month when the rain returned and essentially ended the harvest.
As is often the case, the result of a tumultuous growing season was very good wines – focused, crisp and detailed, with lovely bright acidity and fruit to match that should age quite well.
Domaine Schoffit originated in Colmar and has since expanded outward -- farther than anyone thought possible. Founded by Robert Schoffit, his son Bernard now manages the estate. Suffice it to say that he has elevated this Domaine to its greatest imaginable height. Bernard is a reliable source for creamy-rich and often high-alcohol Rieslings with considerable weight. Even the dry bottlings here normally have significant residual sugar. Schoffit also makes a powerful, thick and weighty Pinot Blanc in the style of Pinot Gris: with plenty of smoky, tropical fruit and chewy texture. Schoffit works vineyards both in the Harth, just outside the town of Colmar, in addition to newly acquired steep slopes in Rangen, near the Clos St. Theobold. This latter parcel had been mostly abandoned, thanks to the formidable challenge of working there. Schoffit however, has proven himself capable, and much more, producing extraordinary wine of immense concentration from these low yielding vines.