Maison Kuentz-Bas was first established by the Kuentz family in 1795, and the domaine as we know it today was forged through a marriage that joined the Kuentz and Bas families in 1895. Nestled in the town of Husseren-les-Châteaux, it sits at one of the highest points in Alsace, and the vineyards stretch out from the village over an area of ten hectares. More than two hundred years of tradition and vineyard pedigree have made these wines perennial favorites, with the grand crus of Eichberg and Pfersigberg earning the highest esteem. However, when the family sold the property to famed vigneron Jean-Baptiste Adam in 2004, many wondered what direction the new team would take. Adam, like the estate’s former owners, has a reputation for being an advocate of Alsatian terroir, and he is the fourteenth generation to continue a family winemaking tradition that began as early as 1614. Eager to restore Kuentz-Bas to its former glory, Adam lowered yields significantly and reverted to natural methods, following organic and biodynamic approaches to vineyard work.
Meticulous attention to detail is the defining characteristic of both the viticulture and the vinification at Maison Kuentz-Bas. Winemaker Samuel Tottoli, who came on board in 2004, puts a strong emphasis on both terroir and accessibility. The wines are divided into two tiers: Tradition, a fresher collection focusing on fruit character and fermented in stainless steel, and Trois Chateaux, from the domaine’s finest vineyards. The Trois Chateaux wines are fermented in large oak foudres to allow for natural micro-oxygenation, then bottled and held for a year before release. Tottoli embraces hard work in the vineyards and minimal work in the cellar. Reduced doses of sulfur allow for a greater expression of fruit, and a drier fermentation yields crisp, mineral-laden wines with less residual sugar. The wines are therefore more open than ever while still reflecting the unmistakable character of the vineyardsthat clients have come to expect from Maison Kuentz-Bas. In Kermit’s words, “we can all throw out our old ideas regarding Kuentz-Bas wines, because the progress there has been remarkable.”