Visiting France's Alsace wine region, part 6

Ludivine and Jean Dirler

Website: www.dirler-cade.com

This domaine, in the far south of the region, dates back to 1871 when Jean Dirler founded it; it’s now in its fifth generation, with Jean-Pierre Dirler (4th) and his son Jean (5th) in charge. In 1998 Jean married Ludivine Cadé, and in 2000 the vineyard holdings of the two families were merged to form Dirler-Cadé. This resulted in a domaine of 18 hectares, of which 42% consists of Grand Cru vineyards: Saering, Spiegel, Kessler and Kitterlé.

Jean and his father began working with biodynamics in 1998, and now run all their vineyards this way. 

Proprietors Jean and Ludevine Dirler hosted us for a remarkable tasting culminating in a long lunch with some exquisite white asparagus, which they paired with some lovely older wines. The older Muscats were a special revelation: ‘when it is 40 years old you think it is Chardonnay,’ says Jean Dirler of the Muscat Saering. 


Dirler-Cadé Cremant d’Alsace 2009 Alsace, France
A blend of Pinots Noir and Gris with Auxerrois. Taut, citrussy and aromatic with a fresh fruity character. Crisp and quite stylish. 88/100

Dirler-Cadé Cremant d’Alsace Rosé 2009 Alsace, France
Pale pink with a taut herby nose and crisp fruit. There’s nice presence here, and a hint of cherry fruit. Very nice. 90/100

Dirler-Cadé Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 2010 Alsace, France
Half of this comes from Grand Cru Saering, 6 g/litre sugar. Lovely rounded apple and pear fruit with a broad texture and a hint of sweetness. Nice depth: smooth, ripe and with attractive pear fruit, as well as a hint of honey. 92/100

Dirler-Cadé Muscat Grand Cru Saering 2008 Alsace, France
A special vintage for Muscat with a small crop (flowering problems). Very dry, pithy, pretty and lively with good acidity and some lemony notes as well as the more typical floral grapey notes. Some melon characters, too. Concentrated. 89/100

Dirler-Cadé Muscat Grand Cru Saering 2010 Alsace, France
10 g/litre sugar. Pretty, floral and lively with some grapey characters as well as melon. A bit pithy with nice sweetness. Lively and intense. 91/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Belzbrunnen 2008 Alsace, France
Very sandy soil over clay, in between three of the Grand Cru vineyards. 7 g/litre sugar. Powerful, pithy and waxy with notes of herbs and citrus fruits. Savoury and nutty (almonds) with a distinctive mineral character. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Belzbrunnen 2010 Alsace, France
8 g/l sugar. Delicately perfumed herby, waxy nose. The palate is lively and pure with precise nut and lime flavours, as well as high acidity. Mouthwatering. 92/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2008 Alsace, France
Lively and intense with fresh, mineral, grapefruit characters. Real precision and brightness. Crisp and taut with persistent, zippy, lemony acidity. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2010 Alsace, France
The vineyard was picked in two tries this year, 3.5 g/litre sugar. Very bright, crisp and yet still rounded with limes, nuts, spice and grapefruit, as well as some sweeter melon notes. Precise and intense. 92/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Spiegel 2008 Alsace, France
Open, waxy, pithy, lemony nose. Precise, mineral and taut with nice melon richness held in check by lively lemony acidity. Dry and precise. 92/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Kessler 2010 Alsace, France
8 g/l sugar; this took 6 months to ferment. Lively, complex melon, pear and citrus fruit with some generosity and great acidity acting as a counter to the richness. Really complex and lively with subtle nutty notes, as well as a hint of mango. 94/100

Dirler-Cadé Pinot Gris Schimberg 2010 Alsace, France
10 g/litre sugar, volcanic soils, fermented in old oak casks. Rounded and appley with notes of citrus pith and pear. Dry and gently nitty with a long, balanced finish. 90/100

Dirler-Cadé Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kessler 2010 Alsace, France
110 g/litre sugar. Very sweet, ripe and rich with melon, apricot, spice and some grapiness. Richly textured. Sweet, complex, spicy and intense but with some minerality. Very fresh with good balance. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Kessler 2008 Alsace, France
32 g/litre sugar. Pretty, aromatic, exotic lychee and rose petal aromas. The palate is off-dry with nice freshness and some pith, lychee and grape notes. Very fat mouthfeel but still feels fresh. 92/100

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Kitterlé 2007 Alsace, France
Fine, fresh and aromatic with notes of pear, melon and lychee, as well as some spice. The palate has some subtle nutty notes. It’s broad with a mineral dimension to the rich fruit, and there are also some tea characters. 92/100

Dirler Riesling Spiegel 1983 Alsace, France
3 g/litre sugar. So lively, pithy and taut with citrus, herbs, wax and almonds. Lovely bright pear and mineral notes, with a hint of apricot. Complex and fresh. 94/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2001 Alsace, France
Lovely ripe, fresh pear and white peach notes, as well as citrus. Textured and fresh with citrus and mineral notes. Rounded and pure. 95/100

Dirler-Cadé Riesling Grand Cru Spiegel 2001 Alsace, France
Waxy and rounded with pithy melony fruit. Generous, smooth, sweet and textured. Some wax and herb notes. Complex and dense. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Muscat Grand Cru Saering 2005 Alsace, France
Melon, pith and herb notes, alongside lemons and grapefruit. Nice weight here: rounded and grapey, and quite complex. Melon and tangerine notes. 93/100

Dirler Muscat Grand Cru Saering 1998 Alsace, France
Grapefruit, melon, lime cordial notes. Rounded and aromatic with real precision and notes of tangerine. Amazing. 94/100

Dirler Muscat Spiegel Grand Cru 1999 Alsace, France
Open tangerine, melon and herb characters with a bit of spice. Fresh with some citrus and herb notes. Real finesse. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer Saering Grand Cru 2000 Alsace, France
30 g/l sugar. Savoury, spicy and mellow with warm, broad apple and pear fruit, as well as subtle nutty notes. Pear, spice and baked apple notes. Delicious. 93/100

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer Kessler Grand Cru 2001 Alsace, France
60 g/l sugar. Lively, intense and bright with smooth pear and spice notes. Good acidity with some vibrancy here. Really elegant wine. 94/100

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer SGN Grand Cru Spiegel 1998 Alsace, France
Rich, sweet and soft-textured with intense apricot and tangerine notes. Luscious and smooth, gently perfumed with some elegance. 94/100

Part 1, Paul Blanck
Part 2, Clement Klur
Part 3, Schlumberger
Part 4, Zind Humbrecht
Part 5, Albert Boxler
Part 6, Dirler-Cadé
Part 7, Josmeyer

Part 8, Weinbach
Part 9, Hugel
Part 10, Léon Beyer

See also: pictures from the vineyards of Alsace, part 1, Paul Blanck

Wines tasted 06/12  
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