Browse Tag


Weg the dog

Zind-Humbrecht 1998 Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim (Alsace) – Past it, which…even though this is from the ripeness-fetishizing house of ZH…is a bit of a surprise from what was a good year for riesling. There’s plenty of size, still, but it’s dried out and curling like old paper. (6/12)

Hail Faller, well-met

Faller “Domaine Weinbach” 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – Striving. And, it must be acknowledged, reaching. Even at the lowest end, these are wines of ambition and force, and the vintage provides an opportunity for a bit of strut and swagger. Green apple (ripe), key lime, molten aluminum. Striking, exceedingly well-balanced, and very long. No, it’s not the most complex or mineral-driven riesling of all time, but it’s the entry-level, and under that nomenclature it succeeds. Wildly. The price? Well… (5/12)


Trimbach 1998 Riesling “Cuvée Frédérique Émile” (Alsace) – Not decanted. There’s some friendly disagreement about this wine; I think it’s still closed, another taster – also quite familiar with the wine – thinks it’s tiring. (It’s not, for the concerned, suffering from premature oxidation.) It’s true that it’s not showing much other than a milky mineralistic texture and a restrained yet tense structure, but the duration of its persistence without weakening is what convinces me that it’s intact and progressing properly. (5/12)


Léon Beyer 2008 Sylvaner “Tradition” (Alsace) – The classic Beyer starkness is a little less bleak here, which one can probably attribute to the vintage, but on the other hand sylvaner is a grape that does well with inner space…as long as there’s intensity in parallel. This has just enough of the latter, in a classic grassy/green tomato mode. There are some grayed-out suggestions of minerality, as well. While I don’t, as a rule, find drinking young Beyer to be a rewarding experience, this is surprisingly approachable, and almost – almost – friendly. (5/12)


Blanck 2002 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg (Alsace) – As bronzed as bottle as I’ve yet had (I continue to work through a two-case stash purchased on deep, deep discount), even tipping a bit towards one of the forms older gewurztraminer can take in which there’s a slightly oxidative honey aroma that’s dominant. Lingering lychee has gotten equally sticky, and the finish is short. Were the other bottles not so variable, I’d be concerned at the performance of this one, but supplementary evidence suggests this is a bit of an outlier, and better-performing corks are sustaining the wine’s progression in a more predictable way. (5/12)

Gyotaku bell

Domaine Mittnacht 2010 “Cuvée Gyotaku” (Alsace) – A blend of pinot blanc, muscat, pinot gris, and gewurztraminer. Usually, such blends are completely dominated by those last three listed grapes, and in reverse order. They’ve managed to avoid that here, whether through sensibly early harvesting or some other technique, and the wine is rather better for it. I’m still unconvinced that blends in Alsace are, in general, more than pleasant quaffing wines except from rare and exceptional terroirs (and often not even then). So this is a pleasant quaffing wine, but its pleasantries are more lavish than most, its whitewashed stone-fruitedness buffed and stony. The name is an apparent reference to an art form in which paper is pressed against an ink-covered fish (perhaps making cuttlefish the Jackson Pollocks of the form), but the clear implication that this is meant to pair with things that swim is a peculiarly Alsatian one; it would take a rich, oily fish indeed to make a deft pairing with this wine. (3/12)

Mann overboard

JL&F Mann 2005 Riesling (Alsace) – Not a producer with which I’m overly familiar (I of course know the more famous Albert Mann quite well). This is a fairly impressive entry-level riesling, full of iced-pear and sharpened-flake minerality. It’s on the short side, as is typical for Alsatian rieslings of lesser repute, but while it lasts it’s quite delicious. (2/12)

Mader hen

Mader 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – Straightforward and correct, with the kind of dry muscularity that used to be the dominant paradigm for Alsatian riesling. Hollows somewhat as it lingers. (2/12)