DOMAINE CHRISTIAN BINNER, Ammerschwihr
The Binner family has owned vines in Alsace since 1770 and today they practice organic and biodynamic agriculture, neither fine nor filter the wine, use only natural yeasts, use minimal sulphur, etc…
All the wines are aged in 100 year old big foudres and undergo malolactic fermentation.
The average vine age is 35-years-old, with 40% over 60 years old, and plenty that have entered their second century of productivity. Christian Binner has an excellent slice of land in and around the Kaefferkopf Grand Cru, close to his home village of Ammerschwihr on a terroir of colluvial granitic top soil over a marly bedrock.
The Binners own nine hectares in total, with only six planted to vine and estate, as mentioned, has been chemical-free for over two decades. They harvest in October, later on average than any of their neighbours, with patience that allows for fully ripe fruit and resulting complexity of flavour in the
bottled wines. They also strive to vinify as naturally as possible with a minimum of sulphur addition, preferable not even at bottling. To manage, one has to make a wine that is as biochemically stable as possible. This is accomplished by fermenting as much as sugar as possible, allowing malolactic transformation and storing and bottling the wine under reductive conditions keeping some carbon dioxide in the wine at all stages.
The hills that ripen Binner’s Pinot Noir Béatrice are a geologic melange of limestone, sand, clay, even some loess, gypsum, schist. You name it. So minerality abounds in the reds of central Alsace, and thanks to being warmer, sunnier and drier than land to the west of the Vosges, pleasantly ripe and still delicate red wine can be grown here. This wine reminds one of cranberries, strawberries and fresh, savoury herbs, mostly thyme.