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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2012 Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl, Zind-Humbrecht

Clos Windsbuhl is one of the jewels of Zind-Humbrechts crown. It is located high above Hunawihr, next to the forest edge and along the bike path that connects Hunawihr with Riquewihr. The micro climate is cool, and the bedrock is is pure limestone, muschelkalk. Here the grapes ripen slowly, and regardless of whether the grape is Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris,  the wines has exemplary acid, complexity and structure. But why have the wine sold in Sweden to 50% of the price for direct sales at the winery?

2012 Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl from Zind-Humbrecht in Turckheim has a fairly light, greenish-yellow color. The aroma is complex and delicious with almonds, white raisins, pineapple, honey, and a clean and pleasing tone of forest mushrooms. The 43-year-old vines provides a deep and dense palate with fresh and high acidity, fine tannins, a hint of bitterness and prefect balance despite 36.5 grams of residual sugar per liter. Price (2014): €46 (but 239 SEK in Sweden).

Read more here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2007 Muscat, André Rohrer

Mittelbergheim is one of France's most beautiful villages, situated on a south-facing slope just south of the town of Barr. In the village there are producers with completely different style; Gilg makes wines with volume and a little sweetness, Rietsch is experimenting with natural wines, Rieffel does strictly classical wines, while André Rohrer makes wines that are dry. Very dry!

2007 Muscat from André Rohrer in Mittelbergheim has a bright greenish-yellow color. The scent is fresh, complex and intense with lemon, mint candies, wet gravel and orange flowers. The flavor is barely medium-bodied and bone dry with wonderfully ripe fruit, pure fine acids, a slight astringency and the long finish is supported by an absolutely pure acidity. Who says that Muscat does not gain from cellaring? Price (2008): € 5.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2010 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg, Becker

Grand Cru Schlossberg is the largest of the 51 Grands Crus of Alsace. The area is about 80 hectares, divided into two parts, with the majority stretching from the village of Kaysersberg to village of Kientzheim. Schlossberg is oriented due south, and the thin, thin layer of soil is readily warmed up by the sun, at the same time as most of the rainwater is rapidly drained. In years with naturally high acidity in the wines, which in 2008, 2010 and 2012 thes naturally generosity of the terroir is combined with a freshness and texture rarely achieved during warm years like 2009 and 2011

2010 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg from Becker in Zellenberg has a deep yellow color. The nose is big and fruity with notes of orange, pineapple, acacia and mineral. The flavor is quite supple and clean with a wonderfully lively acidity that embeds the generous fruit, while there is a tantalizing saltiness in the finish. A really, really good wine from a reliable producer. Price (2014) € 16.00.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alsace wines from green grapes such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Sylvaner and others normally carries the grape variety on the label. But this presupposes that the wine is white. If the color deviates from the standard, it merely meets the requirements to be sold as Vin d'Alsace grape but without grape designation. Since some years, Domaine Loew makes a true rosé of Sylvaner by allowing the skins to be present during the fermentation. Then the alcohol out extracts red/blue colored anthocyanins from the skins, enough for the wine to be become discolored in the legal sense. 

Premieres Vendanges de Marguerite from Caroline and Etienne Loew in Westhoffen has a bright pale red color. The fragrance bursts with strawberry, raspberry and forest honey. The taste is light and tangy, with an acidity as of cranberries with a nice berry fruit, and a small roughness in the completely dry aftertaste. A wine that is not only made ​​of organic grapes, but is a genuine Vin Biologique that has been vinified with a minimum of intervention. Fun! Price (2014): € 8.90.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2005 Crémant Paradoxe, Jean-Claude Buecher

Jean-Claude Buecher makes only one type of wine: Crémant d'Alsace. Born into a family of wine growers in the late 1950s, he soon became an orphan. But the mother and teenage children chose to fight on as independent producers, against all odds. And when Jean-Claude in 1980 married Sylviane, also from Wettolsheim, the acreage increased to an economically sustainable level. The strategy - complete specialization - was staked out.

2005 Crémant Paradoxe from Jean-Claude Buecher in Wettolsheim has a greenish yellow color. The nose is very expressive with citrus, mineral, green apples, brioche and nuts. Intense, complex and very tight palate with lovely fruit, salinity and a clean, deliciously chiseled out finished. Completely dry. Stored over eight years sur lattes. Just amazing! price (2014): €13.10.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2011 Sylvaner Vieille Vigne, Bruno Sorg

Asia represents a huge market for wine. As the purchasing power is rising in countries like China and Vietnam, while Hong Kong (yes, I know it is a part of China ...) and Singapore will be – if possible – more open to western gastronomic influences, more wine will be consumed. In Singapore, Australian wines certainly dominates, but people like Etienne Hugel and Christian Beyer works intensively on the Asian markets. No wonder, for Alsace wines are versatile and can be combined with all kinds of Asian food. Rather neutral wines work best, for example those based on the too often neglected and overlooked Sylvaner.

2011 Sylvaner Vieille Vigne from Bruno Sorg in Eguisheim has a rich aroma of pineapple, chocolate and fresh, chopped oregano. The taste has significantly punch with generous fruit, vigorous acidity and a tiny, little hop-style bitterness in the balanced, almost dry aftertaste (vintage 2012 is bone dry). Perfect for a fish soup Laksa style. Ridiculously cheap. Price (2014): € 5.00.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Crémant d'Alsace, Mader

Crémant d'Alsace is the most consumed sparkling in France. Most of it is pretty simple, but offers a refreshing drink. But there are also producers with higher ambitions. They are not many, but have two things in common: Chardonnay and long bottle aging during the second fermentation. It is during this time sur lattes the wine gets its complexity as they dead the yeast is slowly degraded.

Crémant d'Alsace from Mader in Hunawihr is made from 50 % Chardonnay and 50 % Pinot Blanc, at least in the currently sold vintage of 2010. The color is medium deep, greenish yellow. The aroma is rich and dense with brioche, walnuts and lemon. The palate is medium-bodied, abit ustere but elegant with lots of fruit embedded in super acids balanced by 5.5 grams dosage . The aftertaste is long and convincing, a result of an entire 30 months sur lattes . One of the best in all Alsace. Price: € 8.50.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

2010 Pinot Blanc, Albert Boxler

Blanc and Auxerrois are grown on just over 20% of the area. In the statistics they are pooled, but in nature they are different. Pinot Blanc is light and tight, while auxerrois is much fuller and softer. As more and more Pinot Blanc is used for Crémant it will be increasingly difficult to find still white wines made from 100% of real Pinot Blanc.

2010 Pinot Blanc from Albert Boxler Niedermorschwihr has a dense, yellow-green color. The aroma reminds of creamy milk chocolate, almonds, ripe yellow apple, mineral and nectarine. The taste is compact, tight and stringent with lots of lovely fruit, a sandy mouthfeel and absolutely perfect balance, despite the soaring acids. Boxler makes incredibly good wines! Price: € 10.

Friday, May 30, 2014

2011 Muscat d'Alsace, Blanck

As in all other wine regions are Alsace wines do not reach reasonable standards There are acidic Riesling, sticky Gewurztraminer and limp Pinot Gris. But Muscat from Alsace are of a consistently high standard. Perhaps it might be because the grape variety is so fragile and delicate, and the cultivated area is so small. Or perhaps because Muscat wines are associated with summer, asparagus and good friends who meet for a fresh and seductive glass of the most lovable of all wines. True and pure joy, in other words.

2011 Muscat d'Alsace from Blanck in Kientzheim have fairly deep yellow color. The fragrance is developed but focused and offers orange, mineral, lemon balm and crushed grapes. The taste is barely medium-bodied and quite dry with deep, dense fruit, ripe and clean acids, fine texture and a lovely saltiness in the finish. The wine comes largely from Grand Cru vineyards. Class all the way through, at a ridiculously low price. Price (2014): €11.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1999 Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg, Louis Sipp

I have drunk many, one at least two dozen bottles of this wine. Most have been good, some have been soapy, one has been corked but this bottle was - perfect! Since 1999, the storability of Alsace wines have improved. This is mainly due to the current corks are so much better, but most likely because of better understanding of how to optimize the balance between oxidative and reductive phases from fermentation until the wine is bottled just before the next harvest.

1999 Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg from Louis Sipp in Ribeauvillé has a healthy yellow color with a little hint of green. The aroma is big but not excessive, offering mango, grapefruit and heather. The flavor is rich, complex and somewhat acerbic and gives the impression of being completely dry, despite the overwhelming and smooth fruit that remains in the mouth for a long, long time. Who would have thought that this wine is 15 years old? Price: € 20.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2007 Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg, Gresser

Grand Cru Kastelberg is the only one of Alsace's finest vineyards are located on the slate. This rock is made up of sedimentary layers of clay particles of easily weathered minerals. Typically the rock has been transformed to become hard, brittle and flakey. Because shale releases much minerals, while it is dark and well drained, the vines on Kastelberg gives a unique character to the grapes which ripen perfectly.

2007 Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg from Gresser in Andlau has developed aromas of licorice, citrus and minerals with a hint of cardamom, acacia and smoke. The flavor is quite full with layers of ripe fruit, stringent acidity, excellent structure and absolutely first-class balance. The aftertaste is fresh and very, very long. Price: € 20.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2008 Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker, Eblin-Fuchs

From 2011, the number of designations of origin (Appellation d'Origin Contrôlée) in Alsace increased from three (AOC Alsace, AOC Alsace Grand Cru, AOC Crémant d'Alsace) to a full 53. It is a consequence of new EU rules for protected designations of origin, which for Alsace has meant that each of the  area's 51 Grand Cru has become its own AOC. In the future, the label should state Appellation Grand Cru Rosacker etetera. Wacky, but perhaps good.

2008 Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker from Eblin-Fuchs Zellenberg is biodynamically grown. The color is golden yellow, and the scent is gerous and sweet with passion fruit, lemon, a whiff of diesel and almonds. The taste is initially closed, but soon spreads out comfortably in your mouth and provides intense fruitiness and a powerful, ripe acidity that creates a fine balance in the dry finish. Price: € 14.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2010 Riesling Ammerschwihr, Martin Schaetzel

The domaine Martin Schaetzel has a distinguished set of vineyards all the way from Thann in the south (Grand Cru Rangen), via Colmar (Grand Cru Eichberg and Pfersigberg) and Ammerschwihr (Grand Cru Kaefferkopf) to the slopes just south of Colmar. From this diversity, Michel Vié produces wines that are dry or sweet, light or robust as well as fruity or filled of minerality. Everything is made with the same fabulous precision, and will never disappoint.

2010 Riesling Ammerschwihr from Martin Schaetzel in Ammerschwihr is a pretty light yellow color with hints of green. The fragrance is clean, fresh and full of minerals, citrus, acacia and one hint of honey. The palate is medium-bodied, pure as crystal with lovely acid, ripe fruit, distinguished structure and stringent purity. Classic! Price: € 11.40.

Friday, March 28, 2014

2009 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg, Jean-Marc et Frédéric Bernhard

All vintages of Alsace are very different. The reason  for the variations are obviously the weather, but mainly that quality producers do not manipulate their wines. If you harvest early, use standardized yeast, adjust the wine with acid or base, and use lots of sulfur the wines come out alike - and equally boring - year after year. 2009 vintage yielded wines that initially lacked elegance and had some bitterness. After 5 years, they have "come home" and finally developed a fine balance, even if the style will never be classic. But good.

2009 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg from Jean-Marc et Frédéric Bernhard in Katzenthal has a golden color. The aroma is rich and saturated with coffee, arrack, orange, ripe pineapple and peach puree. The palate is medium-bodied, powerful, somewhat hot and rich with sandy roughness, good acidity and very good balance. A wine with a substantial volume that manages to maintain its' equilibrium. Price: € 13.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2005 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg, Domaine Weinbach

After 3 months with full focus on Vasaloppet, the worlds' largest and longest ski race, Alsace will get full attention!

Altenbourg is a vineyard located just above the village Kientzheim, on a gentle slope with relatively heavy soil, rich in limestone. The terroir is exposed to sun, but still the soil is quite heavy and the winds are moderate. This combination of soil and micro climate allows Gewurztraminer to mature evenly and slowly, maintaining its' acidity. In addition noble rot often develops which concentrates the aroma and the flavor even more. This may be the greatest terroir for the signature grape variety of Alsace.

2005 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg from Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg is deep golden yellow. The aroma is sublime, yet powerful, offering ginger, coffee, pineapple, rose petals, lemon and dill. The taste is sweet but perfectly balanced, with superb acidity, velvety texture and an aftertaste that lasts for ages. A great wine from a truly great producer. Price: €30.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2011 Pinot Gris, Kientzler

Pinot Gris can be wonderful on the table. With its rich, full-bodied flavor and complex aroma the grape manages to match and balance the most kinds of food. But this requires that the wine has good acidity, moderate sweetness and is not too high in alcohol content. A producer who always manages to create gastronomic Pinot Gris is Kientzler, which houses just outside Ribeauvillé. But on the other hand, Kientzler succeed with just about everything. Always.

2011 Pinot Gris from Kientzler in Ribeauvillé have a pretty pale yellow color. The scent is youthful and fresh with hints of fresh apricots, orange, oregano and a touch of honey. The palate is medium bodied with a bit coarse mouthfeel, high but not aggressive acids and wonderfully ripe fruit that is long in the finish. So good! Price: € 9.