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Boxtail soup

Boxler 2004 Riesling “Réserve” (Alsace) – A Chadderdon bottling, and thus (as is the case with some of them) without a label code indicating specific origin or vine age details. As Boxler rieslings go, this is one of the weaker ones…which means it’s still quite tasty, but that it lacks the rich complexity of the domaine’s more interesting terroirs. Ripe apple, ripe lime, transparent aluminum, hints of sweetness, and fair acidity. That’s about it. (1/10)

Left, vingt, right

Boxler 2002 Pinot Blanc “L20R” (Alsace) – An emergent minty note probably signals that this is approaching the end of its maturation and the beginning of its decline. For now, it’s still solid, with plenty of baking spice-infused pear and apple supported by both fair acidity and light residual sugar. Nice. But Boxler makes better pinot blanc than this bottling. (12/09)

Off Brand

Boxler 2001 Pinot Blanc “L20B” (Alsace) – Pinot blanc (and auxerrois) from the Brand, unable to be labeled as such because of Alsace’s often-ridiculous wine law. This wine shows the ridiculousness rather clearly, as it’s both terroir-revelatory and frankly extraordinary. In fact, it’s probably the best pinot blanc I’ve ever tasted…and of the contenders, a rather large number are from this house. Brand dominates, deep and moody with its glowering rocks, while the once-sunnier fruit has turned luscious and creamy. This is not a high-acid wine, by any means, but there’s certainly enough for the stage the wine’s in. What’s most fun is the combination of the intellectual pleasure of a terroir-revelatory wine in its mature glory and the massively appealing drinkability of the wine, which causes it to disappear all too quickly. I could probably drink a magnum of this all by myself, and still wish there was more. (7/09)

Brand identity

Boxler 2005 Muscat Brand (Alsace) – Floral, yes…and as much so as any lover of the grape could want…but the flowers are white, rather than multi-hued, and have shifted from lurid showmanship to stream-side mountain delicacy. The breathtaking Brand minerality, powerful dark crystals laced with coal dust and giving the impression (but not the actuality) of fat, is on display, and succeeds as much as any terroir can in standing up to the grape’s varietal signature. The structure’s good enough (a measure of acidity was no doubt sacrificed in search of the wine’s ideal site/grape balance point). I’m sure this would age, letting the flowers wither away and revealing more and more of the underlying minerality, but I’d actually advise against it; if you want the full expression of site with little standing in the way other than structure, choose a riesling instead. (7/09)

More Garfunkel, less Simon

Boxler 2006 Pinot Blanc “L20A” (Alsace) – Spiced apricot, with intensity (in the context of pinot blanc) yet avoiding fatness. There’s auxerrois here, of course, and thus the requisite spice…but it, too, is tamed and manageable. Otherwise, there’s just the right amount of crispness and light, especially into the finish. This isn’t Boxler’s best pinot blanc, but it’s a fine one, and still better than most. (7/09)

Suzanne Sommerberg

Boxler 2006 Riesling Sommerberg “D” (Alsace) – A crystal cylinder of rieslingness, bold and multi-faceted, yet retaining near-infinite grace. There’s just a touch of sweetness, but the acid knocks it into the background, and wrapped about it are fiber-optic threads of latticed iron and idealized apple. The finish is long and linear. (5/09)

Brut force

Boxler Crémant d’Alsace Extra Brut (Alsace) – More austere than a crémant should be, reminiscent of the older style of exceedingly ungenerous crémant that does the category no favors. It tastes sort of like paper. So I guess there’s something Boxler isn’t brilliant at, which I suppose is somewhat of a relief. (5/08)

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