France - Alsace - Ammerschwihr
“Les Vins Pirouettes” is a collective project launched by Christian Binner, the renowned Alsatian winemaker (part of our book, of course), who’s been making legendary zero-zero wines in his Ammerschwihr winery for more than 20 years. Saddened by the sight of organic and biodynamic grapes being sold for little to cooperatives, Christian decided to encourage these growers to make wine under their proper name instead, thus promoting the idea of soulful terroir wines made with zero nonsense both in the vineyard and the cellar.
Alsace is a great region for this goal, btw: thanks to the Vosges range protecting it from the West, it’s a sunny and dry area, exercising lower disease pressure on the sensitive Vitis Vinifera. And, given its colorful geology, the region is a true patchwork of soils and subsoils ranging from granite to limestone and volcanic plots. Combine it with the 13 typical local varietals and you have the ideal hotbed for a breathtaking span of flavors and styles, especially when respectfully grown; it would be a sin to let them disappear in some insipid cooperative wines.
Hence Pirouettes! A friendly, open association of an ever-growing number of like-minded vignerons. As we’re writing this, it consists of 14 organic and biodynamic small growers whose first names you’ll always find on the bottle, along with a title referring to the method (Pet-nat, Crémant…), cru (Bildstoecklé, Frankstein) or style of wine. The Glou Glous are—surprise surprise—highly drinkable, Tutti Frutti connotes a white blend of multiple grapes, Eros serves flamboyant macerated whites… All the wines are made with zero-additions in the winemakers’ own cellars, with the gentle helping hand of the project’s enologists Xavier Couturier and Pierre Sanchez. “It’s important to say that Pirouette is by no means a négoce,” the team explains. “On the contrary, each cuvée is vinified at the winemaker’s own place, respecting its history and character.” And since selling the wine is equally important yet not easy (it’s difficult to be a brand manager when you’re a full-time vineyard person), Rémi Ségura has joined the project to spread the word and is supported by Christian Binner’s reputation.
« Pirouettes » is the name they chose to symbolize the fun they’re having, but also because “these wines are like beautiful artistic figures, the result of certain know-how and mastery. Pirouette is a gesture of freedom, emotion, and joy,” Christian explains. Indeed, it’s an appropriate name for this liberated movement of skillful artisans, and a beautiful legacy for the winemaker who pushed it forward.