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Holder down

[vineyard]Schoenheitz 2005 Gewurztraminer Holder (Alsace) – Lychee and apricot, with a bitter skin component (welcome, in wines like this) and a lot of supporting structure (very welcome in wines like this). This should have a pleasant future, though not a massively long one. (10/07)

Wine box

[fallers]Weinbach 1998 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée Laurence” (Alsace) – Corked. So big that it almost shows something anyway, but still corked. Damn. (10/07)

The Fix is in

Buecher-Fix 2000 Gewurztraminer Hatschbourg (Alsace) – A soft, peachy expression of gewürztraminer, with gallons of spice and just barely enough acid to make it all work. The wine sort of coils and writhes more than it just sits there, which is somewhat unusual for gewürztraminer of this vintage. I’m not sure I’d hold it much longer; I see it lasting more than developing, with the lovely fruit slowly fading. (10/07)

Fonné pages

Meyer-Fonné 2005 Pinot Blanc “Vieilles Vignes” (Alsace) – Fattish apricot and breakfast spice (I think there must be a good deal of auxerrois in here), with light sweetness and just enough acid to keep it from being cloying. The finish also seems auxerrois-dominated in that it’s fairly long and sticky (not in the sugary sense), which is often a signature of the variety. There’s intensity, too – probably an artifact of the older vines – and that, more than anything else, moves this wine in a positive direction. Sugar-haters won’t like this much, and indeed I’d prefer it a little drier as well, but it’s a solid expression of the modern Alsatian style. (10/07)

Blanck slate

[label]Blanck 2002 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg (Alsace) – Beautiful peach, pear, cashew and light lychee with a strong, crystallized mineral core and fine balance. I’ve always thought this was ageable, and now that the first throes of youth have passed, I’m even more sure. But it’s in a really good place right now, as well. (7/07)

See Hugel

[label]Hugel 2004 Gewurztraminer (Alsace) – Done up in the classic Hugel style: dry (to the palate; there may be some analyzable residual sugar) with plenty of acidity and a restrained, elegant character. This restraint doesn’t always serve Hugel well in these days of critic-pleasing excess, and then some years Hugel gets it profoundly wrong, producing something wan rather than elegant. But when it all works (as it does here), it’s a firm commitment to tradition over modishness. There’s still plenty of tradition to be found in Alsace, but not much of it is exported in these quantities. Grab it before it disappears forever. (8/07)


JP&JF Becker 2001 Riesling Kronenbourg (Alsace) – A composite note. The first bottle is advanced, with creamier and more oxidative notes in concert with a quartzy mineral spice and flashing whiteness, while the second bottle is much more along expected lines, with firm malic acidity and a fresh, glacial wash over white rocks. Well-stored and with cork intact, this has years yet to go. (7/07)


JP&F Becker 2005 Riesling (Alsace) – All the riesling notes are here, but they’re vague and tentative, and there’s neither intensity nor elegance, polish nor verve. Becker’s quite capable of interesting, terroir-revelatory rieslings, but at the lower end things are weaker than they should be. This is insubstantial and diffuse, and I doubt it’s going to improve either. (7/07)

Mambourg number five

[label]Sparr 2002 Gewurztraminer Mambourg “Grand Cru” (Alsace) – Intense but not overdriven, with a burnt-mineral foundation layered with firm crystallized peach, lychee and almond and a supportive acid backbone, which completely dominates the very mild residual sweetness. Balanced, long and showing its terroir; what more could one want from a gewürztraminer? (8/07)

Sparrs and stripes

[label]Sparr 2001 Riesling Schoenenbourg “Grand Cru” (Alsace) – A softening sweetness can’t detract from the pure terroir on display here: crushed white flowers, a little chalk, a rounded and polished core that tails off a bit on the finish. Classic and ageworthy, though there’s definitely that sugar to contend with. (9/07)