Monday, December 28, 2015

Crémant Extra Brut Chardonnay, Lucas and André Rieffel Mittelbergheim

More and more Chardonnay is cultivated in Alsace. The proportion is up to about 1%, and everything indicates that it will increase. The reason is the high demand for crémant. Today crémant of mainly made from Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois, but we also see more and more singe-grape crémant from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The time on the lees in bottle increases. The only thing that seems constant is the price, that is ridiculously low.

Crémant Extra Brut Chardonnay from Lucas and André Rieffel Mittelbergheim is made of Chardonnay from 2007 and 2008 and then sold after at least six years of bottle aging. The color is bright golden yellow with a beautiful green cast, and the scent is fresh and elegant with bread, citrus, apples and a touch of chocolate. The taste is tight with wonderful fruit, racy acids, a fine mousse and a clean finish without bitterness. A great crémant. Price: €9.50.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

2013 Pinot Noir Nouvelle Lune, André Rohrer

Mittelbergheim is one of Alsace's finest and most authentic villages. Here it is enough to just stroll along the beautiful streets with houses since the 1500s. But behind the facades several innovative producers are hiding. Many show great interest in so called natural wines. They are Rietch, Rieffel, the newly established and microscopic Catherine Riss and André Rohrer. André has Pinot Noir at a third of his land. From this he makes three cuvées of red wine and a crémant Blanc de Noir. Fun!

2013 Pinot Noir Nouvelle Lune by André Rohrer in Mittelbergheim has inviting and open aromas of black cherry, strawberry, vanilla and liquorice. The taste is full-bodied and very fruity, almost like grape juice, still the fresh acids are in place along with firm tannins that give fine structure. The aftertaste is long and remarkably clean. A natural wine. Price: € 13.20.

2013 Tout Naturellement, Florian Beck-Hartweg

To make a vin naturel, without any sulphur or filtration, the work starts in the vineyard. For example, the biodiversity at all trophic levels needs to be high, above ground as well as in the soil itself. This allows nutrients to be retained and released optimally, provides a natural protection to pests and gives room for a suite of natural yeasts. The vines should have the right vigour and photosynthetic capacity to bring aromatic complexity rather than excess sugar to the grapes. In the cellar you need a knowledgeable, skilled, inventive, curious and dedicated producer such as Florian Beck-Hartweg.

2013 Tout Naturellement by Florian Beck-Hartweg in Dambach-la-Ville is made from Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. The scent is soft, expressive and inviting with apples, physallis, yellow plum, fresh herbs and a wiff of yeast that contributes to the complexity. The taste is round, rich and vibrant with pronounced fruitiness and fresh but not aggressive acids that come through quite late on the palate. A perfectly balanced wine that is really, really good and versatile! Price: €9.20.

Friday, May 8, 2015

2012 Riesling Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg, Jean-Marc and Frédéric Bernhard

2012 Riesling Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg from Jean-Marc and Frédéric Bernhard Not even Alsace wines can prevent that life interferes with updates of this website. To return with a Wineck-Schlossberg feels natural. The first years I contested, against better judgment, if Wineck-Schlossberg could give great wines. Today I know better. Bernhard, Meyer-Fonné, Paul Blanck and Clément Klur make Wineck-Schlossberg that go straight to the heart. Just as the producers themselves.

2012 Riesling Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg from Jean-Marc and Frédéric Bernhard has a deep greenish-yellow color, typical of the vineyard. The fragrance begins to develop with yellow apples, honey, wet stones, orange and straw. The palate is medium bodied with a nice attack, ripe and tasty fruit, delightful acidity and a wonderful granitic salinity in the dry aftertaste. Thank you, dear friends! Price (2015): € 14.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2005 Pinot Blanc, Charles Noll

An ordinary wine from an ordinary producer. Nevertheless, this wine has not only managed to survive nine years of cellaring, but even evolved to become really good. The wines of Alsace never falls apart like house of cards when they get a few years old. They get their long lives thanks to fine terroirs, gentle winemaking and that the producers are not so greedy and arrogant as in some other districts.

2005 Pinot Blanc from Charles Noll in Mittelwihr is deeply greenish golden in color. The scent is powerful with honey, wax, vanilla and fresh apricots. The taste is medium bodied with good structure, clear and ripe fruit and a pretty intense acid that gives a good spine. Quite a long, dry aftertaste where the fruit is surprisingly youthful. Price (2014): € 5.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2005 Riesling Grand Cru Kanzlerberg, Lorentz

Kanzlerberg is the smallest Grand Cru in Alsace, just over 3 acres with only two owners, Lorentz and Sylvie Spielmann. It is located next door to the sun-drenched Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim giving golden yellow, generous but elegant wines with subtle oranges and honey aromas. But Kanzlerberg is not so exposed, and the clay soil makes the wines much more tight, requiring long cellaring to show their best.

2005 Riesling Grand Cru Kanzlerberg from Lorentz in Bergheim has a dense, greenish-yellow color. The aroma is complex but restrained and provides grapefruit, limes, fresh herbs and quince. The palate is medium-bodied and quite dry, and the powerful fruit gradually develops in the mouth. The wine has excellent structure, and the lovely acids make the saliva flow. A wonderful wine for wine enthusiasts. Price (2009): € 21.

Friday, November 7, 2014

2010 Crémant d'Alsace, Jean-Claude Buecher

Crémant sells better and is becoming increasingly important for Alsace. The quality is increased by less use of Pinot Gris and Auxerrois for the benefit of Chardonnay and, not least, the Pinot Noir. Nowadays, you often see the vintage on the bottle as well as the dates of degorging. More serious. Even tastier. And still as ridiculously cheap.

2010 Crémant d'Alsace from Jean-Claude Buecher in Wettolsheim offers hazelnuts, orange marmalade, sponge cake and strawberries on the nose. The palate is rich, full and harmonious with wonderfuly firm acids, perfect mousse and velvety fruit in the finish. The dosage is 6 grams/liter, and the grapes are Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and a splash Auxerrois. Degorged in March 2014. Price (2014): €7.90.