Jean Baptiste Adam heads " Caves Jean Baptiste Adam" , a family business located in Ammerschwihr and whose roots go as far as 1614 . 14 generations over 400 years . A genealogical tree displayed in the tasting room shows the detail of the family history . JB Adam is also president of the " Syndicat Viticole d' Ammerschwihr" . The Domaine is spread on 15 hectares , on the village and its surroundings . Wide selection of wines .Grands Crus . And the Kaefferkopf wine , a specialty of Ammershwihr .Kaefferkopf appellation is to become the 51 st Grand Cru of Alsace . The vineyard is fragmented in about 100 "pieces de vignes" , or small vineyard lots , some of them having a surface as small as 4 , 5 or 8 ares .
JB Adam also buys grapes from other vineyards around , to elaborate the wine himself . He of course selects what he buys for the quality of the grapes and of the terroir/soil . This adds some 60 hectares production to his own 15 ha . Some farming rules and strict conditions have to be respected by the seller so that the quality of the grapes are guaranteed . That is the task of the "Chef de culture" to follow up with the different sellers the correct implementation of the viticulture rules chosen by the Domaine .
The Domaine , after 5 years of organic viticulture , joined the biodynamic viticulture rules , since the end of 2003 . On the Domaine's 15 ha first , then in the future on the sellers' vineyards . JB Adam also bought Domaine Kuentz-Bas , wich is managed separately .
Jean Baptiste Adam studied in Burgundy and came back in Alsace in the 80's He shows us around the machines and the cellar ..
Pressing is done by several pneumatic presses , slowly , beginning the pressure at 0,2 to finish at 1,8 . He appreciates pneumatic pressing as it allows high precision and _ if needed_ working on small volumes . The result can be sharply adjusted to what is looked for . Different conditions of the grapes ask for different pressings . He shows us the debourbage tanks where the deposit from the must is separated , then filtered to obtain a separate juice . This is a very alsacian practice .
Impressive casks , some thoroughly restored
The cellar is a very cool place with magnificient wooden foudres . Jean Baptiste Adam regularly restores some of them to be sure they will add another 100 years on their already long life span . Restoring a cask or a foudre is painstaking and costly . There is only one traditional craftsman ( in french we say "tonnelier") that does that in Alsace . And giving him such work is also part of helping Alsace wine cultural heritage . His name is Jean Baumert and he lives in Barr .
Some foudres date from as far as 1883 ( see above pop up image on the right ) . In 1883 , 5 such foudres were ordered at the time to be given to each of the five Adam children of this time . For the girls , their foudre's wine was sold each year to augment their dowry . These foudres are artisticaly decorated with sculptures . The casks and foudres have their capacity printed on the front . On the picture above it states 6100 liters . Quite a lot of wine ...
In the Domaine , different types of Kaefferkopf are raised separately . They change drastically with the terroir and soil conditions , and 50 meters away is just what it needs for that .
In a seperate cellar , foudres with Pinot Noir , wich is the focus of a lot of care , with volumes staying at a reasonable level .
Jean Baptiste Adam then leads us to the tasting room , a large and well designed room with a long wooden bar . These are the wines we sampled :
1 : Riesling Kaefferkopf 2000. Vielles vignes . Cuvée Jean Baptiste . Yield 50-55/hectare .Vines 35-40 years old . 14 Euro .
2 : Gewurztraminer Kaefferkopf 2001 . Vieilles vignes . Cuvée Jean Baptiste Adam . 13 ° .Santal, says the japanese journalist . A lot of residual sugar . Very aromatic . 14 Euro .
3 : Pinot Noir 2001 . Bottled end of 2002 . Aged in casks , in the big foudres . 10 Euro .
4 : Le Pinot Noir 2001 Cuvée Speciale . ""The Pinot Noir of Jean Baptiste Adam" 18 months in wooden casks . 13 ° . no filtration at the end . superb red . superb nose . 1,9 g residual sugar for 3,86 total acidity . 16 Euro .
5 : Kaefferkopf . Cuvée Traditionelle 2002 . 80% gewurztraminer 20% riesling. This assemblage , or cuvée preparation dates from 1834 . Very long tradition . 13 ° . nose : Smoke . 10 Euro .
6 : Selection de Grains Nobles 2000 . Gewurtzstraminer . A lot of flavors . Mellow . raisiny . 13 ° . A lot of residual sugar . letting the wine in the glass allows successive aromas to be experienced . 36.6 Euro .