PIERRE ARNOLD

The phrase "it's in the family" could begin to describe the wines of Suzanne and Pierre Arnold but it wouldn't fully do them justice. Their roots are deep — three centuries deep — in the medieval town of Dambach-la-Ville, which teeters culturally on the edge of France and Germany and physically on the eastern slopes of the Vosges mountains. Pierre's family has been making wine here since 1711. He took over 274 years later, in 1985.

Their children and grandchildren have gone on to live in the modern world but Suzanne and Pierre remain firmly planted here, with Suzanne manning their tiny tasting room (in our memory, illuminated by candelight) and Pierre scuttling through the cellar and the vines, where he feels most comfortable. They are of another time but most definitely of this place, which you're reminded of the moment you discern the chalk scrawled on their barrels: "Nous empruntons à nos ancêstres" (we are borrowing from our ancestors).

The family's eight hectares of vines sit on a mixture of granite and various types of mica that retain heat and let water filter through. Tasting their wine, you have the impression it was squeezed from these stones — after all, Pierre insists "c'est pas la cave qui fait du vin. C'est la vigne" (wine is not made in the cellar; it’s made in the vineyard). In his eyes, it is a conduit to the past, a liquid imprint: from their stately, grandma-chic Tricentenaire (a cuvée of Pinot Gris they dreamed up to commemorate their 300 year anniversary) to their salt of the earth Pinot Noir élevé en pièces (which we nicknamed 'Droit Comme un I' — straight as an arrow) to their Diamant Liquide - Riesling en Barrique (Pierre's experimental barrel of Riesling sur lie which tastes, in our mind's eye, of liquid diamonds). Perhaps most emblematic is their Vin Nature—all jasmine and lavender on the palate—so named when they realized there was a word for what they'd been making for centuries.

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