Jean Dirler founded his family wine domaine in 1871 in the small Alsatian village of Bergholtz. Located near the town of Guebwiller, at the entrance to the Florival Valley (Valley of Flowers) which leads to the foothills of the Hautes-Vosges mountains, the domaine has been consecutively run by five generations of Dirlers. Beyond being known for his production of high quality still wines, Jean Dirler is also credited with producing the first Cremant d'Alsace sparkling wines in the 19th century, a practice the current generation revived in 2005. Jean (the great, great, great grandson of the founder) married Ludivine Cade in 1998, and the estate became Dirler-Cade in 2000 with the addition of her family's plots in Guebwiller. The combined total spans 44 acres of vineyards, almost half of which are situated in the Grand Crus of Saering, Spiegel, Kessler and Kitterle. Not surprisingly, Dirler-Cade is most widely known for their special bottlings of Grand Cru Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat, however like most producers in Alsace, they also grow Sylvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and a little Pinot Noir. The family started converting their vineyards to biodynamic farming back in 1998 and completed the full transition of the estate in 2007.
This 2015 ‘viellies vignes’ or old vine Sylvaner comes from 45-year-old vines sourced from high altitude vineyards (approximately 980ft. in elevation) grown in the sandstone-clay soils in the heart of the Kessler Grand Cru. After undergoing whole cluster pressing, the wine is matured in large oak foudres for ten months, yet the only evidence of oak contact is apparent in the wine’s fairly opulent texture. Aromas are unmasked and rather lucent, featuring notes of honeysuckle, quince, acacia and lychee. An ever so slightly oily texture emerges on the concentrated, medium-bodied palate, accentuated by notes of candied kumquat, bruised Bosc pear, red apple skin and underripe pineapple. The richness on the mid palate is tempered by a vivid, streaming acidity, which emboldens the fruit and lingers onto the very long, clean and mineral-driven finish.