Schieferkopf is a new project developed by Michel Chapoutier with four friends around a 5ha domaine in Bernardvillé, Alsace. The name, meaning hill of schist, is one of the highest vineyards in Alsace at 380m above sea level. Chapoutier’s joint venture is with an eclectic group of friends who call themselves the club des cinq, after a children’s book: the lawyer, the retailer, the transporter and the brewer joined forces with the winemaker to work the patchwork of schist soils in Alsace, which Chapoutier said give ‘poise and austerity to the wines, with high minerality.’ Even the type of schist becomes important. Chapoutier said “Kastelberg is on black schist, which has less clay which gives a harder, more mineral, austere wine” compared to the blue schist of the property, adding “where there is more clay, there is more power and roundness.” Although not yet certified, the vineyard is managed under organic and biodynamic precepts to get the best of this unique terroir. Whilst the wines follow traditional fermentation in big Alsatian casks, Chapoutier has marked a line in the sand with these wines: all are dry and all have undergone malolactic fermentation. Neither of these practices is widely common in Alsace. He added “the idea for all our Alsace wines is simple: we wanted wines with no residual sugar.” Additionally, “we add very late sulphites, and have no hyper-protection against oxidation.” He also said he doesn’t want to make a “Chapoutier wine. We won’t try to extract power. We want the soil to speak for itself, we want minerality,” adding he wants to make a style between the German and the Alsatian.
Golden yellow colour with green hues, limpid and brilliant. The bouquet exhibits exotic fruit aromas such as pineapple and mango coming from the south exposure of the vineyard. Mineral notes as well. The palate has ripe fruit aromas, very powerful. The characteristics of the schist are expressed in the wine. Lovely acidity. Notes of iodine on the finish.