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Brand identification

Boxler 2009 Riesling Brand (Alsace) – A little sweet, a lot heavy, a fair bit alcoholic. There’s still plenty of honeyed minerality and bronzed musculature, with the stone fruit and gold of the site evident, but it’s just too boozy for my taste, and I’m not sure this is a quality one will want to live with for long. I’d say I was surprised by this result, but a legendarily hot vineyard in a big year…unfortunately, I’m not surprised at all. Dismayed because of what it portends for globally-warmed Alsace. Disappointed that this came from an extremely reliable producer. But not surprised. (4/11)

Brand identity

Zind-Humbrecht 2007 Riesling Brand (Alsace) – Indice 2. 13.5%, and while I have no visual reason (based on adhesion to the interior of my glass) to doubt this number is far off the mark, my palate is screaming that it’s something more like 15.8%. Which it probably isn’t, but that should give one an idea of the incredible, overwhelming density, heat, and pineapple sludge which are this wine’s primary characteristics. “Isn’t the Brand supposed to be one of the great vineyards of Alsace,” one might ask. Change that verb to “wasn’t,” and I think we’re on the right, if unfortunate, track. Its centuries of value as a perfectly-situated solar attractor may now be working to its detriment in these differently-acclimatized times, and no more so than at houses where extremes of ripeness can sometimes be an end in themselves. (7/11)

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)


Ehrhart 2004 Pinot Gris Brand (Alsace) – Steely black quartz and pyrite, with a dense lacquer of intensely-mineralistic pear and spice. Firm, intense, striking. This is served to me as a dessert wine of sorts, but the tiny bit of sugar is completely overwhelmed by structure and extract; you’ll notice it, but you won’t mind it. Should be stunning in about fifteen years. (6/08)