The story of Frey Sohler Wine Estate has a strong family bond with the wines of the village of Scherwiller in France. It’s a family-owned estate that comes from two different families: Frey, the maternal side that descends from the oldest ancestor who arrived in Scherwiller from Switzerland in 1702; and Sohler, the paternal side of old winegrowers from a nearby town, Itterswiller since 1790. Today, the fifth-generation of the family, brothers Damien and Jean Sohler divide fundamental roles in the winery with the latest addition of the sixth-generation, Damien’s daughter, Aude who handles the sales. Damien functions as the manager of the company and handles the administrative part as well as the vinification in the cellar with Thomas, the oenologist. On the other hand, Jean works in the vineyard and around the estate.
Scherwiller is located in the northeast corner of France in the Alsace region close to the border of Germany. The village nestles at the junction of the valleys of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines and Villé where it enjoys a continental climate like the rest of Alsace. Its hallmark is the diurnal temperature swings which it typical of the continental climate. Summers are hot and winters are cold. It also receives some of the lowest rainfall in France due to the blocking of the rain-laden clouds by the Vosges Mountains. The estate has 32 hectares of vineyards around the village of Scherwiller with three different types of soil: gravel with sand and stones which bring fruity and fine wines; granite which brings wines of strong character with very good minerality; and granite which are perfect for making full-bodied Gewurztraminer that takes out the honey and rose aromas of the variety.
The estate has five vineyards: Rittersberg which has shallow and granitic soil composition where the vines struggle to thrive producing wine with sapid and mineral characters. Ortenberg is another vineyard with granitic soil but with a deeper subsoil resulting in intense and fruity aromas. Scherwiller is a parcel within the boundaries of the Appellation Communale that uses Riesling grapes wherein the soil is alluvial, light, dry and with a filtering effect giving the wine an aroma of nutmeg and hint of lemon flavor. Kreffzen has dry soil which sets off the specific aromas of the individual grape varieties. It is also home to the estate’s old parcels of Gewurztraminer, and where the Riesling vines are cultivated for the estate’s renowned Crémant Riesling. Frankstein is in the Alsace Grand Cru appellation that lies at an altitude of 220 to 330 meters above sea level with the medieval city of Dambach-la-Ville at the foot of the slopes. The soil is composed of well-drained granite and mica soils that filters water and retains heat well. Numerous estates, dioceses and abbeys proudly owned vineyards here from centuries ago like the Unterlinden Monastery of Colmar and the Diocese of Strasbourg in 1320. Gewurztraminer is cultivated in this parcel which presents an exceptional wine and at an exceptional vintage of 2008 produced the gold medalist of the World Gewurztraminer Awards. The estate and the wines are certified “Terra Vitis”, a sustainable viticulture, since the 2015 vintage, and “Haute Valeur Environnementale (HVE) since the 2017 vintage.
The tasting of the three Cremant d’Alsace of Frey Sohler has proven the excellence of three of their most awarded wines. Cremant d’Alsace Riesling is an elegant wine that has a persistent stream of fine bubbles, a nose displaying delicateness, lightness and liveliness of white flowers, crispy fruits and honey. The palate is smooth and mellow with good acidity and finishes long. The Cremant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs is a blend of predominantly Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois. An elegant sparkling wine with delicate aromas and flavors, distinguished sapidity and acidity and a lingering white floral taste in the mouth. The third one, the Cremant d’Alsace Rosè has vivacious effervescence with hints of baked bread, strawberries and citrus with roundness in the mouth, distinguished acidity, light bitterness in the end which is reminiscent of citrus peel. Indeed an excellent discovery of three expressive Cremants d’Alsace.