Size of domain:
Florian & Mathilde Beck-Hartweg
Dambach-la-Ville, Alsace 🇫🇷
Granitic sand, pink granit, sandstone and vulcanic soil. From rolling hills to steep slopes. Continental climate, protected by the Vosges mountains.
Certified organic, practicing biodynamics,
aiming for wild vineyards (based on Fukuoka)
Florian and Mathilde Beck-Hartweg are running a winery with a history many can only dream of. The family has been making wine since (at least) 1525 and has been living in their current house since the early 1700's. And they make truly natural wines, to make this story even more captivating.
Even though they are a young couple, just becoming parents for the first time, they have already built up quite the reputation. We first heard about the wines of this 16th generation family through Racines in New York, known around the world for it's wine list, and whilst visiting Lissner in 2020 we set up an appointment with Florian as well.
In hindsight we could have known that Florian and Theó (Lissner) were friends, seeing how much their viticulture, winemaking and stance in life are similar. Tasting their wines was a truly unique experience, from tasting their energetic entry level wines to the serious Rieslings and sticking out above all: their terroir wines mixing red and white grapes. All out of complete respect for nature, Beck-Hartweg is a vocal voice in the Alsace in reducing the usage of chemicals, both in the vineyards as in the cellar.
Besides the ultimate respect for nature, both in daily life as in connection to their terroir, we were also inspired by the economics of an almost 500 year old domain. After inheriting both building, cellar and vineyards, there's a true feeling of adventure with Florian and Mathilde. Having no staff, they are operating under basically no overhead. Meaning that, compared to newly started domains, they can afford to take risks.
This wild adventurous spirit spoke to us in the glass: raw, uncut energy, straight from the terroir, spared from tricks but full of bold choices and bottled completely without sulfur.
This energy clearly shines through from the vineyards where (similar as Lissner) they are inspired by the teachings of Fukuoka and let nature handle most of the work in the vineyard. With climbing temperatures and vineyards on thin soil (granit bedrock), they are not plowing, nor mowing against weeds. Instead they roll the weeds flat against the ground, gradually breaking down in the soil, whilst protecting it from the sun and holding water in the soil in the dry, Alsatian summers.
The wines are made in the original but tiny 1700's cellar, underground with the barrels on pure soil for optimal humidity. Originally this homestead held livestock for meats and milks and winemaking was just a small part of the farming operation. This reflects in the size of their beautiful cellar, with an entry via stairs that's so small that every traditional fuder has had to be assembled inside the cellar.
Please don't make the mistake of mixing old school with amateuristic, because this facility has been made for the production of quality wines and Beck-Hartweg is doing exactly that. Their wines are vibrant and profound, leaving a lasting impression and, at least in our case, a longing for another glass on another day. The salinity makes this a highly gastronomous domain, capable of letting its energy take dishes to a new dimension.