Wines, vines and family spirit
TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON | PHOTOS © DOMAINE BOTT-GEYL
Family business Domaine Bott-Geyl has been making wine in Beblenheim in Alsace, in France’s Rhine Valley, since 1775.
Each of the vintages – including a vast range of elegant Grands-Crus and Lieux-Dits – reflects the diversity of the Alsatian ‘terroirs’. Co-owners, Jean-Christophe Bott and his wife, Valérie Bott-Cartier, champion what they call “authentic and hand-crafted” wines.
Unsurprisingly for such a family business, it all starts – literally – with the roots. “It is about respect for the vines’ personality,” Bott says. Nothing shows this more than the Domaine’s biodynamic, organic approach, which is all about improving the soil and vine roots, so they remain healthy, year after year.
“If we want the wine to reflect its terroir,” explains Bott, “we need the vine root to be deep into the ground. If the vine suffers, the quality will suffer. So biodynamic practices are about improving the soil. If the soil works better, the vine will produce better grapes and flavour.”
Beyond the soil’s health, respect for the grapes and the wine is paramount. The grapes are picked by hand, when the skins are thin but flavourful. They are then packed into containers of just 30 centimetres high and weighing 35 to 37 kilogrammes each, to ensure that they are not crushed under their own weight, and there is no loss of taste.
Great attention is then paid to the vinification process, with a minimalist approach taken to produce what Bott calls “wines of character”. Flavour is key.
The variety of Bott-Geyl’s wine ensures that they offer incredible diversity in terms of food and wine pairing: a Riesling with scallops or lobster, or a Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer with a wide range of Asian, Indian or Thai dishes.
Overall, Domaine Bott-Geyl’s philosophy goes much further than simply food and drink: “It not just about drink, or nourishing the body,” Bott says. “Wine is also about emotion. Nourishing the spirit.”