Saturday, December 29, 2012

2004 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg, Mittnacht Frères

Hunawihr is a small village with just two streets. But there are some producers you absolutely can not miss: Mader (with its dry rich style), Sipp-Mack (on the way back after the painful split in the Sipp-Mack and Agapé), the cooperative (which never makes you disappointed) and the discrete but absolutely fabulous Mittnacht Frères. The firm is located on the main street, opposite François Schwach and David Ermel, and is run by cousins ​​Marc and Christophe. Here are all the wines very, very high quality.

2004 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg from Mittnacht Frères in Hunawhir is golden yellow. The nose is fresh and tight with hints of ginger, peach, smoke, grapefruit and wet stone. The taste is complex with creamy fruit, firm acids and a honey-like sweetness that leads into a long, balanced finish. Yezzz! Price: 18 €.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2007 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg, Louis Sipp

Grand Cru Osterberg provides some of Alsace freshest wines, regardless of grape. Often you'll find firm acids of lime and lemon in the Rieslings, and even Gewurztraminer from Osterberg is tight and elegant despite much residual sugar. The character comes because Osterberg slopes slightly to the east rather than to the south, while the heavy and calcareous marl soils keep protects the acids during the ripening process.

2007 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg from Louis Sipp in Ribeauvillé is green shimmering in golden yellow. The scent is fresh and it has exciting aromas of cured ham, lavender, honey and grated ginger. The taste is very mellow with a velvety mouth feel, and tight and almost harsh acid that provide energy to balance a natural sweetness. The aftertaste has a lot of salinity, a trait that will become more and more prominent with age. Price: 20 €.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2012 Alsace vintage, commented by vigneron Florian Beck-Hartweg

Alsace wine producers will remember 2012  as one of the most stressful vintage in the last times! We had all the climate extremes we could imagine : some winter frost, much rain in summer, hail... We had to be very vigilant all year long and adapt our strategy to the climate.

The sunny and dry weather in August and early September saved us. This permitted to dry the leaves and the grapes, and thus to avoid the rotting of the grapes. The grapes ripened very fast, permitting to start the grape picking earlier than expected. Then the weather forecasts predicted a long rainy period, and we realized that we had to pick the grapes as fast as possible, knowing that the grapes were perfectly ripe and that there was a risk of dilution and rotting.

We started with the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, which are really great: very healthy and a nice balance in the wines. Then the Gewurztraminers were very aromatic and balanced too. We picked all our vineyards because we realized that there was no chance to produce any good late harvests this year, which turned to be a good choice. Finally we picked the Rieslings last, which had more difficulty to ripen due to the draught. The best vineyards with low yields and deep roots managed to ripen before the rains, the others will be a bit lighter this year.

However, the result is much better than what we expected during the summer! In my opinion and in my region of Alsace, Pinot Noirs and Pinot Gris will be the best varieties this year, some Riesling and the late harvests won't be as good as in the last years.

Florian BECK-HARTWEG, ecological winegrower in Alsace
Dambach-la-Ville, 9 December 2012.