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Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. I am about to open a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library and this is my wine blog. There should be no conflict of interest between my work with The Wine Library and the opinions expressed herein but I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy. From June 2013 until May 2017 I was the Retail Manager for The Wicklow Wine Company. I was a member of the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events, Trips and Governance Committees Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alsatian gems

In the afternoon, it was off to Alsace and we had quite an interesting range of wines to taste. Again, Linda Jotham MW led the class on a very good tour through the regin and its various varietals and soil types. As always, stockists/suppliers in parentheses, details at the end.

We started with Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2006, (GL) €14.75, a fresh fruity style which I like although the class found it a little bitter! I'm a fan of pinot blanc as it makes a lovely food wine which is also pleasant on its own. This was followed by the biodynamically grown Bott-Geyl Muscat “Les Elements” 2004, (CK) €19.95, a really good muscat - understated on the nose but very round and rich on the mid-palate and not realy showing its age.
Then the Léon Beyer Riesling 2007, (OB) €19.89, a classic lean riesling yet with quite a rounded fruit structure on the mid-palate. This had quite a warm feel to it and would be excellent with food. This was followed by Hugel Gewürztraminer 2007, (OB) €15.89, perhaps not as aromatic as might be expected (similar to the previous I wonder is this a vintage character?) but round and balanced on the palate.
Then into the biggies. First the absolutely fabulous Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Grand Cru “Clos St Urbain” 2002, (CO) €89.65, a massive wine from one of Alsace's finest vignerons, also a biodynamist. Classic peach and aprcot nose and palate, some botrytis showing, about 35 g/L residual sugar and 15% alcohol by volume this is not a wine for the faint hearted. I had the 2001 last week in Bordeaux with the 2nd Year MW students - very similar in style. Following was the Trimbach Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives 2000, (GL) €49.50 which was very good but seemed to pale after the monster which had preceded it. This is a shame as I like Trimbach (their Reserve Gewürztraminer tasted at the Gilbey's Portfolio tasting earlier this month was gorgeous!) but that's life, I guess. Finally the quite amazing Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles “Clos Jebsal” 1999, 37.5 cL (CO) €101.25! While the class felt that this lacked the power or punch that a wine of this price should command I thought it had lovely balance between elegance and botrytis character. I don't think Olivier makes wines for simple consumption - these are wines that should make you think and this one did.
All in all, some real gems showing why Alsace is one of the great wine regions of the world and deserves mor attention, especially on restaurant wine lists (speaking of which, I feel a rant coming on about restaurant wine pricing!!).
The stockists are GL = Gilbey's, CO = Coman's, both wholesalers who can only sell to retailers, OB = O'Brien's, CK = The Corkscrew.

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