Wine Geek Recommended
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The Cattin family are of Swiss decent and trace their arrival in Alsace to around the year 1720. Imagine that, another Alsace family vineyard that dates back to the 1700’s! The family settled in the village of Voegtlinshoffen, 10km south of the Alsatian wine capital of Colmar. Being that the region had been famous for its wines since the Middle Ages they immediately planted vines and began the viticultural legacy that continues today. The Domain is named for Joseph Cattin who became renowned for his pioneering work in grafting that, at the end of the 19th century, is widely credited for saving some of Alsace's best vineyards from phylloxera. Today the Estate is run by Jacques and Jean-Marie Cattin as well as the latest generation, represented by Jacques Jr. They own 50 hectares of vines planted to all the traditional Alsatian varietals and have two separate wineries, one of which is dedicated solely to the production of their incredible Cremant’s.
The most special of these vineyards is the Clos Madelon. It was the site of a major battle during WWI during which it was destroyed. It was a mythical vineyard in its day for three reasons. It is among the highest vineyards in Alsace at an altitude of 425 and its red ferruginous soil isn't found anywhere else in the region. Lastly, all 8.12 hectares were planted solely to Pinot Gris. This was and still is an anomaly among Alsatian vineyards that are typically interplanted to many varietals. The Cattin family wanted to preserve this history and therefore replanted in 2000 to nothing but Pinot Gris.
For centuries this swath of land roughly 15 miles wide has been bandied about by conquering armies, spoils of war like any other. This violent fluctuation, as Jancis Robinson puts it, creates an ambivalence amongst the people towards their winemaking. Neither wholly German nor wholly French, but a blissful combination of both, the wines of Alsace when optimally realized are unique gems in the pantheon of wines. Varietals tend towards the Germanic types, while the winemaking sense is much more French in nature, veering more to a dry style. Unlike most of France, however, Alsace producers usually place the varietal name clearly on the front of their bottles.