Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Wines of Domaine Lucien Albrecht and the Food of La Chaumiere in Washington DC, USA/France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Marie Albrecht from Domaine Lucien Albrecht in Alsace

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with La Chaumiere Owner/Chef Patrick Orange and Owner/Maitre d’Hotel Martin Lumet.

This was the third time that Marie Albrecht from Domaine Lucien Albrecht in Alsace was back at La Chaumiere in Washington DC to present her new wines, accompanied by a wonderful menu prepared by Chef Patrick Orange. As the previous 2 events, the evening was organized by the Washington DC Wine Store Calvert and Woodley.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Ed and Michael Sands, Calvert and Woodley

Still run by Marie's father Jean, Lucien Albrecht has roots dating back to 1425.  Jean is the 18th generation Albrecht to run the estate. Marie, the latest in a long line of Albrecht family members to work at Lucien Albrecht, joined her father a few years ago and told us all about this beautiful estate and its delicious wines.

The World Class Wines of Alsace - Great Dry and Crisp White Wines

Alsace produces many good still and sparkling, red and white wines. But above all it is appreciated for its unoaked, dry and crisp white wines. The Alsatian are different from those made in the other parts of France: They are higher in acidity, sometimes really sour, but always a very pleasant experience to have them in the glass. And they go very well with Alsatian food, which is also unique in France. The famous choucroute you find only there in France. But of course, you find it also on the other side of the Rhine river in neighboring Germany, for example in the region where I come from, Frankfurt am Main.

See more here recent dinners in Alsace:

In the Glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

Dinner at Restaurant Winstub Gilg in Mittelbergheim in Alsace, France

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Marie Albrecht


Alsace sits in the northeast corner of France, sheltered by the Vosges mountains to the west, which block out the dreary maritime weather that plagues so much of the rest of northern France and hard against the German border to the east. It has arguably France’s most picturesque wine villages, with hundreds of years old, beautifully restored, half-timbered houses.

Pictures: Impressions from Alsace

The vineyards reach from around Wissembourg in the north to Mulhouse, 70 miles south. Some 12 million cases are produced annually from 32,000 acres of vineyards (13.000 hectares). All 3 wineries I visited – and indeed all famous winemakers – are located south of Strasbourg.


Alsace is a fascinating amalgam of the German and French. The end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648 gave Alsace to France. In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was taken by Germany. After World War I, it was once more part of France — until 1940, when Germany reclaimed it. With the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Alsace became French yet again — and so it has remained.

Pictures: Impressions from Alsace

While the great powers ruling Alsace alternated between the Germans and the French, I see more German elements in Alsace than French elements. For once, the German winemaking tradition is based on the concept of varietals whereas the French winemaking culture tends to believe in the concept of terroir. Alsatian wines are bottled under their varietal names, unlike virtually all other French wines.

Grape Varieties

Four grape varieties are considered to be the best:(i) Riesling – like in Germany, the most celebrated grape; (ii) Muscat – often used to produce sweet wines in France, the Alsace version is bone-dry; (iii) Pinot Gris and (iv) Gewurztraminer –Alsace's signature grape. Three other white grape varieties are also grown: (i) Sylvaner – A high-yielding grape, producing a refreshing wine, often used for blends, (ii) Pinot Blanc and (iii) Chardonnay – used only for sparkling wine. In addition, Alsace does have a little red wine made from the Burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. The Alsatian red wines tend to be quite lightweight, but can be delicious and interesting.


Alsace produces wines under three different appellations: (i) Appellation d'Origine Contrôlées (AOCs) for ¾ of the white, rosé and red wines, (ii) Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and (iii) Crémant d'Alsace AOC for sparkling wines.

More on the wine region Alsace here:

The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Domaine Lucien Albrecht

Domaine Lucien Albrecht is one of the oldest and leading family owned estates in Alsace, tracing its roots back to 1425. Through eighteen generations, Domaine Lucien Albrecht has become one of the largest owner of prime Alsace hillside vineyards.

Domaine Lucien Albrecht is based in Orschwihr, which was first recorded in 728, when it was called OTALEESVILARE with reference to "vignes" i.e vineyard. In the early 1970s, Lucien Albrecht, the father of Jean, the current proprietor and winemaker, was one of the three founding fathers of the AOC Crémant d'Alsace. Marie Albrecht: “In our vineyards we emphasize a harmony with nature and, in our cellars minimal intervention in order to produce, in each vintage, hand-crafted wines that represent our terroir and family heritage.”

Pictures: Marie Albrecht

Marie Albrecht told us that Orschwihr is surrounded by two hills: “One of them is the Pfingstberg, classified Grand Cru. Its reputation dates back to 1299. It is facing the South and the South-East, at an altitude between 250 and 350 metres. It has calcareous and miscellaneous sandstone in the higher part and more clay-sandstone in the lower part. The Pfingstberg is well suited for Riesling and Pinot Gris. The Albrecht are the largest owner of this Grand Cru. Bollenberg is the second hill overlooking Orschwihr. It used to be a celt cult place, then a roman one. It has a unique and special microclimate that enables rare and protected species of Mediterranean flora to grow. The subsoil is mostly limestone with some clay. It is perfect for Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Muscat and Gewurztraminer.”

La Chaumiere: Founder Gerard Pain, Owner/Chef Patrick Orange and Owner/Maitre d’Hotel Martin Lumet

The country-inn atmosphere and the reliable cooking at this Georgetown institution have made it a favorite neighborhood gathering spot for more than three decades. The menu consists of basic bistro fare---dishes like onion soup, mussels in garlic butter and sole meunière. Specialties include tripes à la mode de Caën and quenelles de brochette Lyonnaise and duck foie gras with cassis sauce.  The food is simple and earthy at La Chaumiere, but everything is incomparably prepared.

Picture: La Chaumiere in Georgetown and Chef Patrick Orange

Tables are squeezed close together in a beamed, farm-inspired room complete with a stone hearth and walls tacked with copper pans and horseshoes.

Pictures: La Chaumiere

The late Gerard Pain founded La Chaumiere in 1976. It has been taken over by long-time Chef Patrick Orange and the always impeccably dressed Maitre d’Hotel Martin Lumet. A native of Reims in the Champagne region, Patrick Orange came to La Chaumière in 1994.


Reception: Smoked trout Mousse on Toast

Cremant d'Alsace Brut Blanc de Blancs N V

Crémant d'Alsace Brut, Blanc de Blanc, Lucien Albrecht, NV
This is a NV Blanc de Blancs made from 100% Pinot Blanc. The grapes come from vineyards on clay-chalky soil in Orschwihr and were hand-picked. In the cellar, the wine went through a completely malolactic fermentation.

Tasting notes: straw color in the glass, fine and persistent bubbles, flowery tones on the nose, good balance, light and delicate on the palate, long finish.

More on Cremants d'Alsace:

Tasting 3 Cremants d’Alsace from: Domaine Albert Mann, Domaine Pierre Sparr and Domaine Lucien Albrecht, France

First Course: Warm Asparagus, Sauce Maltaise (Orange flavored Hollandaise)

Pinot Blanc "Cuvee Balthazar" 2010

Second Course: Pike Quenelles in Lobster Sauce

Gewurztraminer "Reserve" 2011
Gewurztraminer "Cuvee Marie" 2009

Third Course: Vol au Vent with Sweetbread & Light Mushroom Cream Sauce (puff pastry)

Riesling "Reserve" 2010
Riesling "Cuvee Henri" 2009

Fourth Course: Epoisse Toasted Bread & Walnuts

Pinot Gris "Cuvee Romanus" 2011

Dessert: Quetsch Tarte Alsacienne

Pinot Gris "Selection Grains Nobles" 2007
Riesling "Vendanges Tardives" 2007

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Tasting 3 Cremants d’Alsace from: Domaine Albert Mann, Domaine Pierre Sparr and Domaine Lucien Albrecht, France

Dinner at Restaurant Winstub Gilg in Mittelbergheim in Alsace, France

Wine Country France: 6 Days, 7 Regions, 3500 km - In 6 Days through 7 Wine Regions of France 

Visiting Colette Faller at Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg in Alsace

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the Glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Christian for the nice review about the dinner at La Chaumière..

    I can see we all enjoyed the dinner!

    All the best,

    Marie Albrecht

    9 Grand'Rue