Bentleigh Tasting Group – Alsace Whites

The group met recently after a brief hiatus to look at a pretty diverse topic. Alsace is a French region very close to my heart having visited twice. It is possibly the most underrated and also misunderstood, which is partly to do with the seemingly unfocused nature (no one key variety or style) and the fact that it has a complicated history (several times it has been part of Germany). In my opinion it is the most beautiful wine region, and the people are some of the warmest in the country, possibly due to their history of oppression and war.

For our tasting the variables were that wines had to be white, from the 2007 or younger vintage, and not be late harvest (vendages tardives) or noble rot (selection de grains nobles). This presented a huge diversity of wines, as there are five key white varieties and countless others, there are numerous different areas including dozens of grand cry vineyards, and there are a huge diversity of styles. Accordingly we looked at a great range of wines, and also for the first time in three tastings no doubling up. Very strangely there were no wines made from gewürztraminer despite it is one of the top three varieties. Here are my notes;

Wine One
Bit floral rich musky notes, a little subdued for the moment. Very delicately candied, quite dry and a little bit savoury, rich sweet round texture, slightly leesy cheese rind, very slightly smoky, delicate guava apricot. 2009 Muscat/Pinot Gris
Zind-Humbrecht Clos Saint Urbain Rangen Grand Cru Riesling 2010

Wine Two
Quite delicate pretty light lime blossom, clean pure light, flint more mineral purity. Quite warm and broad, dense and long, very young concentrated, really ripe citrus pith. Very imbalanced at this stage of its life. 2010 GC Riesling
Albert Mann Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling 2011

Wine Three
Dense dark concentrated nose, earthy smoky red citrus stone fruits. Brighter and more lifted on the palate, powerful acidity and fruit, more balanced alcohol, more in the savoury realm, well-managed residual sugar. Powerful expressive. GC 2009 Riesling
Weinbach Cuvee Theo Riesling 2010

Wine Four
Very closed quiet biscuity, very little fruit. Dense yet quiet, very bright fresh, still developing, some dry green notes. 2011 Riesling/Pinot Blanc
Mader Riesling 2011

Wine Five
Very close reductive dirty earthy smoky ashy dusty. Very intense dark bold long, candied peel notes, oxidative open, very complex. Pinot Gris 2009
Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2007

Wine Six
Rich ripe candied floral, smoky ripe cheese. Super candied but dry almond apricot. Much more development, warmer vintage. 2008 Weinbach Pinot Gris
Weinbach Cuvee Ste Catherine Pinot Gris 2008

Wine Seven
Camomile tea, lanolin, dried coconut. Surprisingly fresh on the palate, bright rich intense, vibrant acidity, completely different to the nose. Coming in line though. All vibrancy at the moment. 2007 Pinot Gris
Ostertag Riesling 2009

Wine Eight
Musky floral talcy, classically fine Gewurtztraminer notes. Sulphurous big alcoholic hit, going to my head. Deceptively hot, like some of the best Alsatian GWT. GWT 2010
Marcel Deiss Riesling 2011

Wine Nine
Vibrant fresh green clean and lean, citrus intensity. Clean pleasant fresh long linear, really lovely and bright, excellent with food. 2011 Riesling
Bruno Sorg Pinot Blanc 2012

Wine Ten
Herbal gherkin, cheesy leesy, dried apple skin, creamy salty caramel taffy, root beer. Rolling rolling rich warm on the front, spicy creamy generous texture. GWT 2003
Zind-Humbrecht Herrenweg de Turckheim Muscat 2000


The lineup of wines for our Alsace Tasting

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