Alsace adventure (3) Barmès-Buecher, great people, great wines


Wettolsheim-based Barmès-Buecher (pronounced Barm-es Booshay) is one the most interesting producers in Alsace. We visited with Sophie and Maxime, and took a tour through the vineyards in their Citroen 2CV.

Maxime was 21 when his father passed in 2011. ‘From 15 years old I was often in the cellar with him, so I learned a lot from him,’ he says. ‘I always learned to make wines without products and to trust in the quality of the juice. The harder work for me is the vineyard. The cellar is easier for me than outside. I need five or six people in the vineyards, it is a big operation.’

The father started farming biodynamically in 1998 and got certification in 2001. ‘I remember my father made the change from conventional farming to biodynamics,’ says Sophie. ‘It was a huge challenge for him. It was hard work.’ His father didn’t agree with the change, too.

Maxime has planted some trees in the vineyard to increase the biodiversity, and has started to use a mixed cover crop that’s sown in the autumn in alternate rows.

These wines are superb.


Barmès-Buecher Cremant d’Alsace Brut Nature 2021
12.5% potential alcohol, stopped at 11.3% and then allow the remaining sugar to do the second fermentation. Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Chardonnay. Disgorged July 2023. Linear and bright with ripeness and nice citrus and pear fruit, with a hint of wax. It’s lively and vivid with great precision and the focus on the fruit. 92/100

Barmès-Buecher Rosenbeg Sylvaner 2022 Alsace
13% alcohol. Linear, bright and pure with transparency to the mineral-laced lime and pear fruit, with a hint of green apple. Lovely precision with a touch of chalkiness and lively acidity. There’s a crystalline edge, here, too. Lovely weight and focus. Convincing. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Sand Pinot Blanc 2022
This is beautiful. Pure, fine, slightly salty and really mineral with lovely pear and citrus fruit, with a hint of smokiness. Stony and delicious, this is very fine and expressive, showing purity and precision. Has a beautiful texture. 94/100

Barmès-Buecher Pfersigberg Gewurztraminer Grand Cru 2022
They have 25 ares (one-quarter ha) of this. Six months each in stainless steel and demi-muids. Beautifully focused aromatics with pear, apricot and rose petals. The palate is dry with a slight creamy hint under the delicate grape and citrus fruit, with a touch of Turkish delight on the finish, as well as some bitter spicy notes. Really expressive and quite fine. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Leimental Riesling Vendanges Tardives 2015
70 g/l rs and lots of acidity. Powerful and textured with lovely lush sweet peach and pear fruit with nice intensity showing a spicy edge. This wasn’t picked too much later than the other Riesling but this is a flat parcel and 2015 was a very hot vintage. It had 16% potential alcohol. Lovely weight and depth here. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2021
So intense and vital with high acidity (unusual for Gewurz) plus lively lime, lychee and table grape notes. Has some bacon notes, too, adding a savoury edge, but also grapefruit sorbet notes and some orange peel. Remarkable. Has 34 g/l of residual sugar and 8 g/l of acidity, but still has flavour ripeness. 93/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2013
This was Maxime and Sophie’s second vintage. Picked at the end of October. Delicate, youthful, fine and textured with a touch of honey and some table grape. Lively mouth with some mineral and smoke hints as well as full fruit, with a touch of strawberry and rose petal. Very expressive and pure, developing beautiful. 94/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer 2009
This is pure and youthful still, but still offers lovely ripe, sweet, smooth pear, peach and cherry fruit, as well as some lychee, table grape and a twist of bacon. So pure and fruit driven with nice depth. Picked at the end of September. Some sweetness, but retains freshness and elegance. A very refined style of Gewurztraminer. 94/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 1996
12% alcohol. Golden colour. Textured and rich with bold pear and peach fruit. Has apricot and honey with some fine spicy notes, and some sweetness. Just a hint of cabbage here, with some savoury bacon hints, and finishing long, sweet and complex. Honey and nuts, and a hint of A beautiful wine. 95/100

Barmès-Buecher Steingrubler Gewurztraminer SGN 1988
13.5% alcohol. Full gold in colour, this has honey, burnt sugar, caramel and malt notes as well as rich raisined spice and citrus with amazing depth. This is bold and rich with smooth texture, finising long with more burnt sugar characters. Certainly developed, but drinking well now. 93/100