Since 2003 was hot and Gewurztraminer is a naturally low acid grape, I expected this to be big, blowzy and out of balance. Bergheim, however has loads of marl and limestone, both of which preserve acid and delay ripening. The wine is in fact well balanced and shows beautiful lemon custard, fresh fig and rose petal. It's not too floral or spicy, which can be a turn off for me, but theres an underlying exotic spice that promises to emerge in a few years (saumac?). 100% Biodynamic $45
I'll confess to being continually puzzled by Deiss for many years.
For me it's a case of individual style clearly trumping terroir. Deiss wines always have a certain stamp---and it's not a stamp I generally prefer. Not dissing your preferences, mind you; just different strokes for different folks.
Maybe his making his idiosyncratic style of wine in an unusual year actually helped put his wine into balance.
The Deiss man gets no respect.
I think the puzzlement is part of the attraction for Deiss. Jean-Michel himself is completely mad. We know through his tenacious battle over Alsace Grand Cru restrictions that he is indeed very passionate about his GC Terroir. I have to admit (and so probably would he with a little prodding) that his varietal line is the least representative of his style. For his lieu-dit and Grand Cru wines (where he is clearly at his best and most content) he is a ferocious field blender, prefering the style of his ancestors to that of twentieth century single varietal wines (In Alsace anyway). He strongly believes that terroir is more important than the grape varietals themselves to individual flavors and subtleties. I talked to Olivier Humbrecht about Deiss and his methods and recieved a very impassioned contrary viewpoint (to be mild). Deiss' varietal wines are solid and can be spectacular even though they kind of go against his philosophy. Truly for Deiss, a necessary evil -but when a necessary evil tastes so good, I for one can't complain.