Profile of Jean-Baptiste Adam

This is a wine estate which tests a critic’s ability to remain balanced and objective. Indeed, it is hard for any wine lover to remain neutral about such a charismatic and engaging winemaking family, or their excellent range of terroir-driven, delicious wines. For over 4 centuries, this family has been writing the history of Alsatian wine. Today run by the 15th generation, that legacy shows no signs of slowing down.

The winery was founded in 1614 by the original Jean-Baptiste Adam in the Haut-Rhin village of Ammerschwihr. Flanked by the granite slopes of the Grand Cru vineyard ‘Kaefferkop,’ his success seemed assured. Quickly building a reputation for the quality of his wines, restauranteurs in Ammerschwihr would queue up to taste the barrel samples, to best select a match for their dishes. Over the centuries the firm’s reputation grew, overcoming the many historical obstacles that were thrown in its way. Jean-Baptiste Adam survived the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, thriving despite prolonged periods of political turbulence. At the end of the 19th century, the firm embarked upon its first major expansion of the cellar, before shipping its first bottles to the US in 1871 and Japan in 1985.

Unfortunately, the outbreak of Two World Wars caused major setbacks. During WWI Alsace was annexed by Germany, returned following the peace treaty of Versailles. However, during World War II the estate was deemed to be hostile to the German forces and was forbidden from selling any wine during the war. Many citizens of Ammerschwihr took refuge in the cellar during the Allied bombing campaigns. As a result, the cellar was spared the ravages of war – the old wooden casks are still in use today. After the end of the war, 13th generation Jean Adam helped the region get back on its feet, once again exporting Alsatian wines across the world. The construction of a new cellar in 1967 only aided their cause – 14th generation Jean-Baptiste took over in 1996, although he started working at the winery in 1982. Today he pushes forward remarkably progressive stewardship, working with his daughter Laure who is the marketing genius behind Jean-Baptiste Adam’s recent success. The central hallmarks of their wines are respected for terroir, the introduction of biodynamic viticultural practices in 2003, and a ‘non-interventionist’ regime in the cellar, which involves only using wild yeasts and refraining from filtration. As a result, the wines are magnificent: structured, aromatically complex and long-lived. Without any hyperbole, it would be fair to say that they’re among the best in France.

Wines produced

  • Sylvaner Tradition 2018

    100% Sylvaner. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. The wine is bottled relatively soon after harvest to maintain freshness.

  • Riesling Reserve 2016

    100% Riesling. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Approachable on release, the Riesling Reserve can be cellared for at least 5 years.

  • Pinot Noir Reserve 2016

    100% Pinot Noir. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Approachable on release, the Pinot Noir Reserve can be cellared for at least 5 years.

  • Pinot Gris Reserve 2016

    100% Pinot Gris. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Approachable on release, the Pinot Gris Reserve can be cellared for at least 5 years.

  • Pinot Gris “Les Natures” 2016

    100% Pinot Gris. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. The viticultural methods are very eco-friendly - these wines are produced without pesticides or the use of man-made chemicals. Filtration is generally avoided.

  • Alsace Grand Cru Riesling Kaefferkopf 2015

    100% Riesling. Produced from Grand Cru grapes - hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Approachable on release, the Grand Cru Riesling can be cellared for at least 10 years.

  • Alsace Grand Cru Gewürztraminer Kaefferkopf 2016

    100% Gewürztraminer. Produced from Grand Cru grapes - hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Approachable on release, the Grand Cru Gewürztraminer can be cellared for at least 10 years.

  • Alsace Grand Cru Le Riesling Kaefferkopf "Vieilles Vignes" 2015

    100% Riesling. Produced from Grand Cru grapes - hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Filtration is generally avoided. Fermented in wooden foudres. Approachable on release, the Grand Cru Riesling can be cellared for at least 10 years.

  • Pinot Gris Vendages Tardives 2015

    100% Pinot Gris. Produced in exceptional years from a selection of over-ripened grapes that are also affected with botrytis, sourced from exceptional vineyards. Hand harvested grapes are fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. Filtration is generally avoided. Limited production, this wine is suitable for extended cellaring. A dessert wine style.

  • Cremant d'Alsace Emotion

    95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented using natural yeast. Fermented in wooden foudres. A traditional method sparkling wine, the wines are fermented in bottle, aged and then disgorged before release. The perfect aperitif!

Winery details

Jean-Baptiste Adam

5 Rue de l'Aigle
68770, Ammerschwihr
France
Tel +33 (0) 3 89 78 23 21

Appellation
AOC Alsace
Founded
1614
Area under vine
20 hectares
Winemaker
Jean-Baptiste Adam
Owner
Adam Family
Production
150,000 bottles from their domaine wines
Grape varietals
Sylvaner, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer

More information

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