Monday, July 26, 2010

2007 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois, Henry Fuchs

Auxerrois is not a grape you search out because of a characteristic aroma but primarily for a) its taste, and b) its usefulness. But although 7% of the Alsace vineyards are planted with this relative to Chardonnay, it may not be sold under its own name in Alsace and it is normally blended with, and sold as, Pinot Blanc. The structure of the taste is similar to a Chardonnay from Macon: relatively fat, moderate acidity and all in all a wine that matches all kinds of food, white meat as well as fish dishes. And many producers will testify that this as what they put on their own table, day after day.

2007 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois from Henry Fuchs in Ribeauvillé has a very floral, fresh and complex aroma of lilacs, peaches, walnuts, flint and Bassets Allsort. The taste has a very good attack, is dry and crisp, yet offers both substance and weight and a very pleasant salinity. A very good wine from a revived domaine! Price: €5.20

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2008 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois, Martin Schaetzel

One of the virtues of Riesling is that it does need to be boosted by oak in any form.  Intstead, the wines made from the worlds' best variety are by nature complex, pure and fruity. Auxerrois, however, is a bit anonymous and had low acidity and picks up som volume from the oak. in addition to  Martin Schaetzel producers such as Stirn, Kubler, Lissner and Beck-Hartweg manage to carefully integrate the structure and the vanilla of the oak into their Auxerrois.

2008 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois from Martin Schaetzel has a golden and dense appearance. The generous nose offers warm apple crumb, crème brulée with a generous dose of vanilla and tropical fruits.  The taste is perfectly balanced and well structured with mango notes, a slight bitterness resembling yellow grapefruit (pamplemousse) and surprising minerality. A great example of how ageing on oak (élevage en barrique) add qualities to the Auxerrois. Price: € 7.60

Saturday, July 10, 2010

2005 Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg Vielles Vignes, Guy Wach - Domaine des Marronniers

Have you heard of Guy Wach and Domaine des Marronniers? If not, you're in good company, because of all the top producers in Alsace, Guy Wach is the most discrete. Maybe it's because his firm is small and situated in Andlau, the village with three celebrated Grands Crus, including the absolute pinnacle - Grand Cru Kastelberg. Kastelberg consists of shale that is rich in easily dissolved salts. The soil heats up easily, while clay minerals which are interspersed in the shale layers hold a lot of water that prevents the maturation from being blocked in periods of drought. Shale simply make the grapes ripen perfectly every year.

2005 Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg Vielles Vignes is golden yellow and viscous. The aroma is complex and developed with a little botrytis, anise, smoke, honey, ginger, roasted almonds and Christmas spices. The flavour is full bodied with some sweetness, crisp and supple acidity and a very long finish. A wine with rare complexity! Price: € 15.

2007 Edelzwicker Sélection du Gourmet, Emile Herzog

Say "Edelzwicker" and many will frown. But although most Edelzwicker are wines that are offered on 1-liter bottles almost for free, it is wrong to generalise. Because one can make Edelzwicker in many ways and with varying level of ambitions. At worst, it is hard-pressed must from  high yield sites on the  Plaine d'Alsace. But better is, if it is done from surplus, high quality must for which the vat intended lacked space, or - as in this case - if it is deliberately made from co-planted grapes, grown in a well-tended vineyard with a reasonable yield.

2007 Edelzwicker Sélection du Gourmet from Emile Herzog Turckhiem is made from Chasselas, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. The scent is fresh and peppery spicy but also contains green apples, apricot and hazelnut. The taste is clean and fresh with moderate body, youthful fruit and a hint of bitterness (from Gewurztraminer)  in the finish. Lovely on the table! Price: € 5.60.