Episode 3: Experiencing Great Wines and People at Barmès-Buecher – An Alsace Adventure

By | 3 May 2024

Website: https://barmes-buecher.com/en/

Wettolsheim-based Barmès-Buecher (pronounced Barm-es Booshay) is one of the most fascinating producers in Alsace. Our visit included Sophie, Maxime, and a scenic tour of the vineyards in their Citroen 2CV.

Maxime was just 21 when his father passed away in 2011. From as young as 15, Maxime often accompanied his father to the cellar, absorbing invaluable wisdom. Maxime reflects, ‘I always learned to make wines without products and to trust in the quality of the juice. The vineyard is the more challenging part for me. Operating it requires a team of five or six people, signifying the magnitude of the operation.’

Maxime’s father made the progressive shift to biodynamic farming in 1998, acquiring certification in 2001. Sophie recalls, ‘My father’s transition from conventional farming methods to biodynamics was a considerable challenge. It required a significant degree of hard work.’ However, this change was not universally approved, with his father expressing disagreement too.

Maxime has taken to planting additional trees in his vineyard with the aim of fostering greater biodiversity. He has also begun using a mixture of crops sown during fall seasons on every alternate row.

The wines produced are simply excellent.

Barmès-Buecher Cremant d’Alsace Brut Nature 2021
The potential alcohol stands at 12.5% where fermentation was halted at 11.3%. The remaining sugar instigated the second fermentation. It is comprised of Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Chardonnay. Disgorgement took place in July 2023. It has a linear and bright nature enhanced by ripe and appealing citrus and pear fruit with a slight wax hint. It is lively and vibrant, showcasing great precision with the main focus centered on the fruit. It scores 92/100.

Barmès-Buecher Rosenbeg Sylvaner 2022 Alsace
This wine contains 13% alcohol. It has a linear, bright, and pure character showcasing a tranparent layer of lime and pear fruit mixed with a hint of green apple, all infused with minerals. It has enticing precision coupled with a touch of chalkiness and lively acidity. Furthermore, it boasts a crystalline edge. The weight and focus of this wine are impressive. It’s absolutely convincing. It scores 93/100.

Barmès-Buecher Sand Pinot Blanc 2022
This is a wonderful wine. It is pure, fine, slightly salty and really mineral with lovely pear and citrus fruit, with a hint of smokiness. It is stony and delicious, very fine and expressive, showing purity and precision. This wine has a beautiful texture. 94/100

Barmès-Buecher Pfersigberg Gewurztraminer Grand Cru 2022
This vineyard has 25 ares (one-quarter ha) of this. It is aged in stainless steel and demi-muids for six months each. The aromatics found in this wine are beautifully focused with pear, apricot and rose petals. The palate is dry with a slight creamy hint under the delicate grape and citrus fruit, also featuring a touch of Turkish delight on the finish, as well as some bitter spicy notes. It is really expressive and quite fine. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Leimental Riesling Vendanges Tardives 2015
This variant has 70 g/l rs and plenty of acidity. It is powerful and textured with lovely lush sweet peach and pear fruit of nice intensity and a spicy edge. It was not picked much later than the other Riesling, but this is a flat parcel and was produced in a very hot 2015 vintage. It had 16% potential alcohol. The wine has a lovely weight and depth. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2021
This wine is so intense, vital with high acidity (which is unusual for Gewurz) plus lively lime, lychee and table grape notes. It also has some bacon notes which adds a savoury edge along with grapefruit sorbet notes and some orange peels. Absolutely remarkable. This wine has 34 g/l of residual sugar and 8 g/l of acidity, but still has flavour ripeness. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2013
This marked the second vintage for Maxime and Sophie. Harvested in late October, the wine exhibits youthful, refined characteristics, with elements of honey and table grape. Fruits, minerals and a hint of smoke contribute to a vibrant mouthfeel, rounded off with strawberry and rose petal undertones. Highly expressive and clean, its maturity is impressive. Rated 94/100.

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2009
A perfect blend of youth and maturity, this wine boasts deliciously ripe, smooth pear, peach and cherry fruit. The presence of lychee, table grape and a trace of bacon add depth to its fruity flavor. Harvested in late September, it maintains a hint of sweetness while retaining freshness and elegance. It represents a very refined style of Gewurztraminer and scores 94/100.

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 1996
With 12% alcohol and a golden color, this wine is rich and textured, brought to life by bold pear and peach flavors. A melange of apricot, honey and spice accompany a level of sweetness, with a subtle whisper of cabbage and savory bacon tones. Finishing on a long, sweet and complex note that brings forth honey and nuts, it’s a delightful wine. Scored at 95/100.

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer SGN 1988
Containing 13.5% alcohol and presenting a full gold hue, this blend features honey, burnt sugar, caramel and malt tones. The rich, raisined spice and citrus give amazing depth to the wine. It’s bold and rich with a smooth texture, finishing long with additional burnt sugar characters. Well-developed yet drinking well now, it’s rated at 93/100.

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