Sunday, August 29, 2010

2008 Pinot Gris, René Etienne et Simonis

Over the last few years I have advocated the key principle that if a producer has a bit too slender Riesling, one will love his Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. And vice versa . Etienne Simonis is one exception to this rule, because all his wines have a good structure and body without turning falling into the trap of heaviness, clumsiness or too much residual sweetness.

2008 Pinot Gris from René Etienne et Simonis in Ammerschwihr has developed and rich aromas of chocolate and pistachio. It is powerful and fruity, and offers a dry taste with an almost sandy structure and a good bite of acidity. Fabulous on the table for no money at all. Price: € 5.60.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

1990 Riesling Patergarten, Paul Blanck

In 1985, the cousins Philippe and Frédéric Blanck took over after brothers Marcel Blanck and Bernhard Blanck, sons of Paul Blanck. Thereby, they became part of a tradition starting in 1610 when Austrian Hans Blanck made his first wines in Alsace. Thus, this wine is part of the unrivalled Alsatian tradition of family viticulture, more than ever the basis of the commercial success and the increasingly environmentally oriented commitment that prevails all the way from Thann in the south to Marlenheim in the north.

1990 Riesling Patergarten from Paul Blanck in Kientzheim offers fresh, candied lemons, white flowers, honey and tar (!) on the nose. The taste is silky and supple with superb structure (tartaric acid) and freshness combined with lovely fruit that still, after more than 20 years of cellaring, coats the mouth. This is life! Price (of current vintage): €12.

Monday, August 16, 2010

2008 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Sporen, Frédéric Engel

Currently, a new wine legislation is  implemented in France. In Alsace, this means that for every Grand Cru, it will specifically be determined which grapes will be allowed. With respect to Grand Cru Sporen, it will be easy to decide on  Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, more to discuss regarding Riesling while Muscat will not stand a chance. For Schoenenbourg in the same village,  Riesling is the ultimate grape but personally, I'm also hoping for Muscat. What a mess it can be! And unfortunately,  we dare not believe that terroirs such as  Grands Crus Vorbourg, Gloeckelberg, Frankstein and Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé will get right to the Grand Cru Pinot Noir. Or?

2008 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Sporen from Frédéric Engel in Riquewihr has a discrete, wonderful scent of roses, cardamom and luke-warm pineapple. The taste is moderately fruity, medium-bodied and supple with some sweetness, a hint of bitterness. It is wonderfully clean and has firm acids that provide  both freshness and structure. The definition of an elegant wine! Price: € 10.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2007 Riesling Ostenberg, Etienne Loew

Riesling is a grape that can present a wide palette of aromas, from green apple and citrus aromas to honey, pineapple and floral aromas. The fragrances  originate from a group of chemicals called terpenes, and there are six such substances which together dominate the scent palette of young Riesling. What we actually experience is the cumulative effect of these substances, not the compounds  individually. In the must, terpenes are highly bound to glycosides but are partially released by fermentation. The higher the pH in the fermentation is, the more terpenes are released, adding to the olfactory structure of the wine. Therefore, the berries' must need to be ripe for the aroma to become rich and complex.

2007 Riesling Ostenberg by Etienne Loew in Westhoffen has a developed and complex aroma of orange blossom, ginger and honey. The flavour is rich, mild and supple with a mature and pleasant acidity that slowly evolves on the palate. A wine from oolitic limestone from the Jurassic period  which is very similar both in terms of geological origin and aromatic character to a Altenberg de Bergheim. Price: € 10.

Monday, August 2, 2010

2008 Pinot Gris Cuvée des Seigneurs, Eblin-Fuchs

Zellenberg is a strangely located village, and it looks like it has landed from above on a hill, surrounded by vineyards. The village itself is very quiet, but 6 producers have their premises in the village, most next to the Route des Vins. Geologically, the village sits on a slob of Bundsandstein about  240 million years old,which 40 million years ago was tilted over end  on top of younger geological strata. Zellenberg have their own high-class terroirs, such as Grand Cru Froehn, a piece of Grand Cru Schoenenbourg and several Lieux-dits, but all producers also have land in Hunawihr, Riquewihr or both.

2008 Pinot Gris Cuvée des Seigneurs from Eblin-Fuchs has golden yellow color with a slight red tone. The scent is fresh and completely without disturbing fungal elements and offers apricot, chocolate and smoke. The taste is just over medium bodied with firm acidity and an excellent backbone that makes the impression  dry and dense. An unusually personal, refreshing and useful Pinot Gris! Price: € 7.25.