Producer Profile: Domaine Schoffit
This is the first in what will be a series of producer profiles, giving a bit of background on some of the wineries that we’ve been bringing in for years and new ones we’ve discovered.
Domaine Schoffit is a producer we’ve been importing almost since Caro’s first started out. The estate was established by Robert Schoffit, and is based near Colmar in the heart of Alsace. In the early 1980s Robert’s son Bernard Schoffit began an ambitious expansion, buying up 6.5ha of land in the grand cru of Rangen, including the walled vineyard, Clos Saint-Theobald, which Schoffit now owns in its entirety.
At the time of purchase, much of the land had been abandoned by other producers who deemed it simply too steep and difficult to work. Bernard Schoffit persevered and eventually began to produce wines from the incredibly low-yielding vines there that caught the attention of both the French and international wine world. The winery is now considered in the very top echelon of Alsace producers.
Schoffit’s reputation was established on the back of his extremely rich, concentrated and powerful Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. They often have a fair whack of residual sugar in them too, but always manage to convey a sense of balance. At the time, this was a style of wine that was fairly unusual amongst the mainly-dry offerings of other Alsace producers. In recent years, Schoffit’s style has evolved and things have toned down slightly. He’s harvesting a bit earlier to preserve freshness and producing wines in a drier style that are just as impressive.
Schoffit lavishes the same attention to detail and quality on the wines from his other vineyards as he does on the grand crus. Along with their holding in the volcanic-soil Rangen vineyard, Schoffit own substantial holdings in the flatter, sandy-gravel soils of Harth, just north-west of Colmar. Though technically this should be inferior land, Schoffit’s strict selection and low yields delivers wines that have helped to build his reputation for quality. Chasselas isn’t exactly the most in-demand grape variety these days, but the rare Chasselas he produces here comes off 80 year old vines and has real density and complexity. We never get much in but it’s a firm staff favourite. Harth is also where his Gewurztraminer comes from which every year competes with the Pinot Gris to be the wine that disappears out Caro’s doors the fastest.
Schoffit’s dry wines are labelled ‘Tradition’. ‘Cuvee Caroline’ is generally slightly richer and the old vine ‘Cuvee Alexandre’ is another step up in concentration, power and often sweetness.
See the Schoffit range currently available at Caro’s here.