The Alsace region is a favourite wine area in France for many because of the stunning geography, beautiful ancient fortified villages, and immaculate vineyards rolling across the slopes. A drive down the Route des Vinsis a delightful journey, and could take days if you visited all the many villages en route.
On our first serious sortie into the wine-producing region of Alsace we thought we had stepped straight into a picture postcard. The serried ranks of vines advancing towards the forests of the Vosges; the ruins of once proud medieval castles; quaint walled villages with flower-decked streets and hospitable inns - and all this before we had tasted the wine! And what wine - brilliantly appetising, clean-cut and aromatic.
It was a wonderful journey of discovery, but subsequent trips over the next three years had become increasingly frustrating. We got to know numerous winemakers, and tasted many an excellent Grand Cru, but we had not managed to find a supplier who could give us all we needed for 3D Partners in terms of wine, welcome, and value for money.
However, our luck changed while visiting a wine exhibition in Paris - we met Pierre Baur. As we tasted his wines and listened to his enthusiastic presentation of the family domaine (he is the eighth generation), we knew we had to try and persuade him to join the 3D 'club'. Our second Alsace vineyard, Domaine Gruss, was recommended to us by one of our Burgundy suppliers, Fernand Chevrot, who was at wine college with André Gruss' father, Bernard.
One of the unique aspects of winemaking in Alsace is that even the smallest growers will normally produce six or eight (or more) different wines each year. Larger producers may well have twice as many. Our winemakers are no exception - both produce many more wines than the ones we buy from them: Riesling Les Prélats and Gewürztraminer Vieilles Vignes from André; Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Gewürztraminer Herrenweg and Tokay Pinot Gris Herrenweg from Pierre.