Posts tagged ‘Alsace’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Wines of Alsace – Rieslings

 

This is based on samples supplied by the winery or another organization on their behalf.

 

2010 Trimbach Riesling

2011 Meyer-Fonné Riesling Reserve

2011 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d’E

2011 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvée Théo

 

 

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The Region of Alsace

Tucked into France’s northeastern corner, Alsace follows the Rhine River through its long, thin strip.  The Vosges Mountains protect and provide Alsace with a backdrop for some of France’s most stunning scenery.

 

Central to this landscape of rolling hills and charming timber villages is the renowned Alsace Wine Route (Route des Vins d’Alsace), a 106 mile journey winding through more than 100 wine villages, 19 of which host 26 Michelin-starred restaurants.  Incomparable weather and scenery, delicious eating and drinking, and generous hospitality make Alsace a feast for all the senses.

 

Loads of information on Alsace is available here.

 

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The lineup for the tasting was:

Wines of Alsace

 

 

 

2010 Trimbach Riesling – SRP $20

To me, Trimbach is the torch bearer for Alsace wines.  You can find their wines in just about every decent wine store in the country.

 

The Trimbach family has been producing wine since 1626 and the 13th generation of the family, Anne, has recently joined the “family business”.  Trimbach usually harvests their grapes in late October.  The grapes are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and concrete vats.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow to straw color.  The fresh and Spring like nose has lemon zest, minerals, apples, candied ginger, steamy slate, orange blossoms, white peach, and a touch of pineapple.  This has fairly light body, very crisp acidity, and is dry.  On the palate mouthwatering lemon and minerals kick off the show with candied ginger and a floral note kicking in on the back end.  The finish is very long with a bit of pineapple adding to the lemon and minerals.  This was better as it warmed and got some air.  This is good now, but will reward a few years in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2010 Trimbach Riesling

 

 

 

2011 Meyer-Fonné Riesling Reserve – SPR $22

This is another old world winery that has been around for a LONG time.  In this case, the winery was founded in 1732.

 

The winery is increasingly getting into organic farming and does not use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.  All grapes are hand picked and are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks or oak barrels using native yeasts.  The wines are aged on their fine lees

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw color.  The very open and easy going nose has lemon zest, apples, white peaches, minerals, and honeysuckle.  This has light to medium body, good acidity, and just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate this is very fruit driven with apples and citrus up front with minerals and white peach coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again is fruit driven.  This is a touch softer that most dry Rieslings making it seem a touch sweeter.  This fruit driven wine could easily stand alone on a hot afternoon or evening of pair with a spicy dish.  (87 pts)

2011 Meyer-Fonne Riesling Reserve

 

 

 

2011 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d’E – SRP $24

This is a relatively new winery that was founded in 1966.

 

This wine is a blend of grapes from 15 different plots in and around the village of Epfig.  This wine is made in a style that showcases the fruit with little regard for terroir.  The grapes are whole cluster pressed via a pneumatic press and fermented using wild yeasts and aged in stainless steel tanks for a year.

 

This wine is Certified Organic.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light, pale straw color.  The very nice nose has lemon zest, toast, apples, white flowers, spice, grapefruit, apricots, and minerals.  This has light to medium body, good acidity, and has just a hint of sweetness.  The creamy palate features nice citrus and apples up front with a nice floral note, pices, and minerals coming in on the backend.  The finish has very nice length and again highlights the citrus, apple, and minerals, with a slight saline element coming into play.  This would be a very nice wine to serve to a new comer as an introduction to dry Rieslings.  (89 pts)

2011 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d'E

 

 

 

2011 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvée Théo – SRP $30

Talk about a winery with some history!  The winery was established in 1612 and the land has been home to vines since at least the year 890.

 

All Domaine Weinbach wines are estate-grown and bottled.  The vineyards have been cultivated organically for 20 years.

 

After gentle pressing the wines are vinified in ancient 1500 to 6000 liter casks using only native yeasts.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden straw color.  The very appealing nose has lemon zest, minerals, anise, white pepper, white peaches, apples, pineapple, lime zest, yeasty bread, and orange blossoms.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity, and is dry.  Even though this is dry it has nice richness on the palate with a nice mix of fruit and minerals with a very appealing herbal note in the background and a spritz of lime kicking in on the lengthy finish.  Even at the young age, this is already showing nice complexity.  This is one to enjoy now or a few years down the road.  Impressive.  (91 pts)

2011 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Theo

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

Cheers!

Oct 5, 2012 to Oct 7, 2012

 

 

 

2004 Elyse Petite Sirah Rutherford – $26.99

 

My comments

Elyse is one of my favorite wineries when it comes to reasonably priced, larger framed, red wines.  Elyse is usually our first stop when we visit wine Napa, and we have been known to stop again before we head home.  We love all their red wines and their Petite Sirahs have always been top notch.  I highly recommend stopping by if you ever find yourself in Napa and want to avoid the usual high traffic areas.  The winery is not far off of Highway 29 just north of the city of Napa before you get to Yountville.   You’ll thank me later.

 

Winery history

NapaValley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest. In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.

 

It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine. While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food. Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour.  The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, fresh ground black pepper, dying embers, licorice, dark chocolate, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This is full bodied with solid, slightly rustic, mouth coating tannins and good acidity.  The berries, dark chocolate, and pepper grab the palate almost immediately and then the slightly drying tannins kick in, clipping the finish fairly severely.  This still needs some time in the cellar for the tannins to integrate.  If you open a bottle now, give it plenty of air, probably a few hours.  My remaining bottles will sleep for at least another two years, probably longer.  (90 pts, this wine is hard to rate at this point, but I feel it will be 92-94 pts in a couple years)

 

 

 

A quick stop at the local UPS Depot netted me a couple wine samples from Mondavi, a book, salami, recipes and other swag.  These bottles will be featured in a future blog posting, but I don’t think the salami will make it through the weekend, it looks good!

 

 

 

1996 Klein aux Vieux Remparts Riesling Burgreben Alsace – $18.93

 

My comments

Another bottle from my stash of aged Rieslings.  This one is from the Alsace region in France.  I had a bottle several months ago and with a touch of air and warming up a bit, it was outstanding.  I may give it a quick decant to help it shake off the cobwebs and warm it up a touch since that helped last bottle.  We love older Rieslings, but I have far more experience with ones from Germany.

 

Winery history

I couldn’t find too much information on the winery to do with their history.

 

For your reading pleasure, here is a write up from Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste on this wine:

 

When we get a chance to acquire a wine with this age and this level of provenance we jump in head first.

 

It’s not often you get the opportunity to acquire cellar stock from a decade ago, nearing its peak drinking window – especially from Alsace. This wine is going to blow people out of their socks (well, not literally but you know what I mean)…

 

I originally inquired about this wine after tasting it at a dinner last winter in Strasbourg where a local collector was trying to showcase the best unknown producers in Alsace. I couldn’t find any at the winery but I found a few bottles at a local retailer and was told he had access to three more cases that were lying in the winery cellar as a library release. I inquired again at the winery and due to persistence was told there were “a few cases” but no more. I visited, tasted the wine again and walked through the cellar where I found a stash of this, unlabeled and full of the typical dust and mold one finds in decade-old bottles resting in a cave. I asked if indeed there were more than “a few” cases available and indeed there were (remember, this started as “nothing available”, “a few” and now “more than a few” – such is the nature of my job, gentle prodding that can seem determined to many Europeans but the results are in your cellar).

 

Hand-picked and hand made, this is an esoteric bottle of wine that contains a mystery of flavor and stony but honeyed Riesling fruit that is strong but medium in weight and beautifully balanced. It is just starting to mature and open and its best days are well ahead of it. Klein is known to have some of the longest-lived examples in Alsace (even the Trimbachs are fans) and 1980s examples are still going strong (even an early 1990s Muscat tasted was magical). The Klein Burgreben reminds me of a junior version of Boxler’s Riesling “Brand” from the 1996 vintage (or even Tempe’s 1998 Burgreben which is quite close) and I liken this offer to one of the Schloss Schonborn deals we had over the winter – cellar stock that is in absolutely pristine condition.

 

While we have the opportunity, I urge you to partake of this shimmering, lightly golden elixir – it’s just a great bottle of terroir-focussed Riesling (this time dry), directly from the winery cellar and never moved since bottling. The wine was just labeled on your behalf a week ago and sent on its way to us. For this price it makes a mockery of many of the world’s current Riesling release offers.

 

My Tasting Note

This is much better at a slightly warmer temperature.  This is a light golden yellow color.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, lime zest, pears, petrol, minerals, and orange blossoms.  This is dry with light body and tart, citrusy acidity.  The wine’s finish has very good length with loads of minerals and citrus zest.  Drinking very nicely today, but no real hurry on this one, it should hold a few more years in the cellar.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

2007 Keplinger Grenache Red Slope Knights Valley – $50.00

 

My comments

This is another mailing list only wine that I was fortunate to join before they started getting high scores from the wine publications.  The “rock star” winemaker, Helen Keplinger is now the winemaker for the “cult” winery, Bryant Family, which appeared to be a bit outside of her normal “comfort zone” since she made her name and honed her talents working mainly with the Rhone varietals.  I bought several bottles of this wine, but have been patient long enough, one gets popped tonight.

 

Winery history (actually Winemaker background)

I always had an intense curiosity for science, a huge appreciation of art, and a gravitation toward and revitalization in nature – all which dynamically come together in winemaking. In 1998, I moved to California to attend the MS program in Enology at UCDavis.

 

After Davis, I worked with Heidi Barrett, Kathy Joseph, consultant Claude Gros, and David Abreu. Since 2004, I have been the winemaker for some exciting projects, including Cellers Melis (Priorat), Kenzo Estate, FortRoss, Sarocka, Scully, and Arrow & Branch. I am currently focused solely on Keplinger Wines and Bryant Family Vineyards.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a medium to dark violet color.  The wine has an enticing nose with raspberry, strawberry, olives, minerals, wild flowers, roasted meat, fresh brewed tea, dried herbs and spices.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, slightly drying tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate features nice, savory tinged fruit in the front with dried herbs and a touch of spicy oak in the background.  Very nice length on the finish which leans very heavily on the dried herbs and spices.  Don’t open this looking for an easy drinking, fruit forward wine.  This is very serious and in need of a couple more years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

 

About a half bottle was recorked and left on the counter.  The next day the tannins had integrated and lost the dryness.  The fruit has also come to the forefront and has pushed the still present savory notes into the background.  The wine is now much smoother and polished.  Leave these in the cellar of give them a ton of air.

 

 

 

2003 Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet – $29.99

 

My comments

I’m in the mood for a nice Bordeaux.  I saw my stack of 2003 Pontet-Canet but decided it was WAY too early to open one of them.  Then I remembered I grabbed a few of this, their second wine.  This should be at least getting close to a nice drinking window, so one get opened later today.  I’ll probably open the bottle later and decide if it needs decanted or if it’s ready to rock.

 

Winery history

Jean-François de Pontet, royal governor of the Médoc, combined several vineyard plots in Pauillac in the early 18th century. Years later, his descendants added neighbouring vines in a place named Canet. This was the beginning of one of the largest estates in the Médoc, which quite naturally added the name of its founder to that of the land registry reference.

 

A century later, Pontet-Canet was included in the famous 1855 classification, thereby confirming its membership among the elite of the Médoc. This privileged position did not go unnoticed by one of the most important Bordeaux shippers of the time, Herman Cruse, who bought the estate in 1865. He built new cellars, modernised the winemaking facilities, and established the wine’s reputation around the world. The Cruse family owned Pontet-Canet for 110 years, until another shipper (from Cognac this time), Guy Tesseron, acquired it in 1975.

 

Over two centuries Pontet-Canet has been owned by three different families. Today it is run by Alfred Tesseron with his niece Melanie (daughter of Gerard Tesseron) who is the descendant of Guy Tesseron. Thirty years after their arrival in Pauillac the Tesseron have the satisfaction of knowing that they have gradually replanted some of the vineyard and renovated the buildings and the wine making facilities.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour and a half.  The wine is a medium ruby color, much lighter at the edge.  The very nice nose has cassis, spice box, minerals, dried herbs, graphite, leather, some earthy underbrush, and a touch of cherry.  This is medium bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice length on the finish which features the dried herbs, and spices, with the fruit leaning more towards cherry than cassis.  Still a bit young, but outstanding for a second label.  (91 pts)

 

 

 Mailing Lists

 

The mailing list season is just about over.  There may be a few stragglers or lists that are looking to move a few less popular bottles, but for most of us, it’s “Shipping Season”.  Shipping Season is that glorious time of the year where generic cardboard boxes arrive, and like kids at Christmas, we rip into the boxes.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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