Bruno Schueller in the cellar and a caricature of Jean Ginglinger (with anatomically correct nose!) Photos: Amanda Bowman

It's a Family Affair - Bruno Schueller and Jean Ginglinger

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Bruno Schueller and Jean Ginglinger are cousins, and coincidenatlly also two of the most talented natural wine producers in Alsace. It's been a long time coming, but we've finally been able to put together an offering of their wines, albeit in limited quantity. Here you'll find racy acidity, unmatched purity, and truly memorable and impressive expressions of classic Alsatian varieties. There are some wild and wacky bottles, like Schueller's Pinot Blanc, oxidative Riesling Bildstoecklé, or Ginglinger's Pinot Gris maceration and funky unfiltered Gewurztraminer. On the other hand, there are textbook crystalline wines with breathtaking natural acidity and mineral complexity, like the Cuvee H and Riesling Particulier from Schueller or the BIHL and the Riesling Lerchenberg from Ginglinger. All in all, these are not to be missed for fans of natural wines and Alsace lovers alike.

Bruno Schueller is a member of the "Gang of Five" of Alsace - the term given to a group of Alsatian winemakers who were considered the first to produce natural wines in the region. Along with Pierre Frick, Christian Binner, Jean-Pierre Rietsch, and Patrick Meyer, Bruno pushed the boundaries for decades, and has gained a cult-like noteriety for his atypical wines. Sometimes they can be reductive, other times a bit volatile, but when they're good they're unforgettable (luckily this batch is free from any noticeable reduction or VA so worry not!).The domaine is located in Husseren-les-Châteux, close to Colmar and protected by the Vosges mountains. It's an area with mostly limestone soils, which lend a mineral streak to all of Bruno's wines. In the vineyard, farming is biodynamic, and Bruno pays close attention to leaf cover, and the health of his soil. Most of his cuvées have no sulfur added at any point and all aging is in large Alsatian foudres that are typically around 1000L (and are often close to 100 years old!). We brought in some of Bruno's wines a decade ago, before "natural wine" was a buzzword, so it's a great pleasure to re-introduce his wines in this new age of enthusiasm.

Jean Ginglinger on right

I first met Jean Ginglinger a few years ago, when Réol and Amaury Beaufort invited me to an early morning tasting at Ginglinger's home. I was blown away by the wines and their natural acidity (maybe it helped that it was 9am!), and enamored with Jean, who is a humble and genuinely warm and gratious human being.  A cousin of Bruno Schueller, Jean makes wine about 10 minutes away, in the town of Pfaffenheim, across the road from Chantal and Pierre Frick. He converted his family's domain to biodynamic viticulture in 1997, traded in tractors for horses for vineyard work and started making no sulfur wines in 2003, so he should be considered an equal contributor to the history of natural wine in Alsace. Like much of the terroir around Colmar, the soils here are mostly limestone, mixed with sandstone and various fossils and prehistoric rocks (see photo above). His winemaking is focused and intentional, but at the same time whimsical and free. The wines run the gamut, from deliciously pure and dense Rieslings to macerations and peculiar expressions of Muscat, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.

We're excited to have Bruno and Jean's natural wines in New York and invite you to try them!      Eben Lillie (with special thanks to Amanda Bowman for photos, insight, and help with tasting notes!)

Good doggie! Bruno's puppy just wants to play, and doesn't understand why these people are standing around spitting wine when they could be playing with him!

Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Pinot Noir

Apparently this is the wine people are always bugging Bruno about. Maybe it's because Pinot Noir is so rare in Alsace. I've heard good things, and tasted a promising 2017 with him in the cellar. Though I'm pretty sure I tasted the 2016 a year ago, all I remember from that visit was running around from old barrel (some are 50+ years old!) to old barrel and playing with his adorable puppy. Unfortunately no notes survived! Our friend Josh from Percy selections says it was really delicious in barrel. Limit one per customer as we only got a few bottles.   Eben Lillie

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  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Pinot Blanc

Usually from the 1st parcel that Bruno harvests, this is a fresh and zippy Pinot Blanc with loads of baking spice and salinity. Unfiltered, and a bit cloudy in the glass, it's not like any other Pinot Blanc I've ever had! For all chefs (and aspiring chefs), this wine will trigger your imagination!  Eben Lillie

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  • $21.99

  • Organic
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Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Pinot Gris Reserve

From a vineyard of pure limestone, this is an elegant and relatively rich style for Pinot Gris. Bruno doesn't like rich Pinot Gris, and often prefers his basic Pinot Gris to the Reserve in the first 3 or 4 years after bottling, but he says in 5-6 years, the Reserve evolves into a really special wine.  Spicy tropical fruit on the nose mix with burnt orange and marmalade. The palate is rich but the limestone soils give the wine cut, and the dryness is evident in the finish. A wine for meditation, and considering Bruno's advice, a good one to age for a few years.   Eben Lillie

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  • $34.99

  • Organic
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Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Riesling Bildstoecklé

As far as I can tell, this is the one. People say Bruno's wines are different and transcend what anyone would possibly expect from Alsace. They say he's an iconoclast who follows his own path. This is certainly true, but I often taste with Bruno and simply find the wines to be amazing, pure and energizing, and great examples of what a really good natural wine can be. However, it is a bit of a singular experience to taste a full-on oxidative Riesling like the Bildstoeckle. The nose is reminiscent of Jura sous voile whites, and there's subtle stone fruit on the palate mingling with the oxidative notes. There's no copper or sulfur used in the vineyard - something that is really difficult to pull off save in particular micro-climates. The parcel is on what Bruno calls a "good spot" on top of a hill on limestone terroir, well aerated and with relatively poor soil. In any case, this is not a Riesling for everyone, but certainly recommended for fans of oxidative whites.  Eben Lillie  

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  • $36.99

  • Organic
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Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Riesling Cuvee H

From the Pfersigberg Grand Cru, this is a classy (very) dry Riesling. There's a subtle oxidative lean to the wine, but lovely ripe fruit is dominant. Lime-flower and citrus aromas that become more exotic and slightly spiced, the palate is stony with with white fruits and hints of anise and caramel. There's good material and acidity here for mid-term cellaring. In short, a lovely and elegant wine!  Eben Lillie

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  • $36.99

  • Organic
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Schueller, Bruno 2016 Alsace Riesling Cuvée Particulière

For a "basic" Riesling, this is pretty impressive! Crystalline, with nice fleshy texture on the palate. Electric and zippy, with enough ripeness and maturity to balance the acidity and intense minerality. Perhaps not as dense or long in the finish as the lieu-dit and Grand Cru wines from Schueller, it's still a fantastic expression and a beautifully clean natural wine.  Eben Lillie

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  • white
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  • $26.99

  • Organic
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  • No Sulfur

Jean Ginglinger 2016 Alsace Gewurztraminer

When Amanda and I tasted with Jean in May, he told us his "specialty is oily wine!" This Gewurztraminer is a prime example. This is a totally dry, spicy and floral Gewurztraminer that has a really viscous attack, followed by a stony and chalky finish.  We considered possibly cellaring this wine instead of selling it, as some ropiness developed at a certain point in the bottle. Ropiness is an uncommon trait that occurs when Lactic acid bacteria produce a "mucilaginous substance" in a wine (or beer). We've experienced this once or twice in extremes, where a noticeable ropy substance was visible in the wine. Luckily the effect with this particular wine is subtle, and it seems to fix itself a bit with air. They say the best way to fix ropiness is a filtration and sulfuring, but since most of us don't have the set-up in our homes, please be aware when purchasing this bottle! In my opinion, the quality of the wine and the delicious expression of Gewurztraminer is worth the confusing but harmless oiliness in the attack. Lovely floral notes mingle with orange citrus, and though the start is a bit confusing, the finish is bright, zesty and clean. Eben Lillie

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  • $23.99

  • Organic
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Jean Ginglinger 2016 Alsace BIHL

Bihl is a blend of 70% Riesling with 30% Sylvaner. There's an ample amount of minerality here, which plays beautifully with the salinity and precise dryness that are a hallmark of Ginglinger's wines. This starts with a pleasant viscosity on the attack, and then finishes with scintillating crunchy freshness. Notes of mint, lemongrass and verbena, and a long mineral finish.  Eben Lillie

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  • $29.99

  • Organic
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Jean Ginglinger 2016 Alsace Lerchenberg Riesling

This is a truly beautiful  Riesling that involves a year-long infusion, where grapes are loaded into a sack (think of a really large tea bag or cheesecloth sack) and infused with the wine over the course of a year. It's a useful technique for ensuring the yeasts have food to eat and ferment the wine totally dry. It's also really bizarre and something I'd never heard of before I met Jean. The Lerchenberg vineyard is mostly clay and limestone, providing some sharp minerality. It's just my opinion, but I believe this wine does not just taste good, but feels good. It's a pure no-sulfur wine, and the energy and natural acidity are unparalleled compared with any sulfured wine I've had. A great success and a great Riesling, for immediate consumption or long-term aging. Eben Lillie

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  • $32.99

  • Organic
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Jean Ginglinger 2016 Alsace Steiner Pinot Gris Maceration

We love this skin contact Pinot Gris from Jean Ginglinger! 3 weeks maceration of Pinot Gris, with some fruit coming from his Grand Cru sites (Steinert and Zinnkoepfle). Most of the juice was from an old vineyard not far from Patrick Meyer and Catherine Riss that Chapoutier (yes that Chapoutier) recently bought. The vines were torn out to plant Riesling, but Jean was able to have access to the last harvest. The wine has a lovely pomegranate hue and fascinating nose, with cherry and raspberry leading to rose petals and spice. It's juicy, elegant, and exotic. Eben Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
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  • $32.99

  • Organic
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  • No Sulfur