Browse Tag


A Baur countenance

François Baur 2005 Gewurztraminer Herrenweg (Alsace) – Very sweet. Classic lychee and spice aromas dappled with fresh rose petals, but this would be a lot more interesting with less residual sugar. (1/12)

Rock, sir?

Trimbach 2001 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre” (Alsace) – From a recently-purchased lot that is, alas, a little bit heat-traumatized. There’s still plenty to like in its arid porcine minerality and light apricot glaze, but there’s also a slightly sticky and stale note that gives away the damage. (1/12)

Night, Romney

Mittnacht Frères 2008 Gewurztraminer (Alsace) – Soft spice, fleshy but restrained peach, a generalized sunny shininess. Pretty, basic. (1/12)

Kai Winn

Kaimira 2004 Gewürztraminer (Brightwater) – A pale shadow of its once-bright self, showing only the faint chew of skins and a bit of acrid walnut oil. (12/11)


Kathy Lynskey 2005 “Single Vineyard” Gewürztraminer (Marlborough) – Which vineyard is going solo here? Ms. Lynskey doesn’t say. But while Marlborough is not, historically, New Zealand’s premiere bid at spicy stardom, my long-standing argument – really, I’ve been on this kick since the 90s – that the Long White Cloud is the next-to-Alsace-best source of full-throttled gewürztraminer is not belied by this wine. No, it’s not near the top of the heap. Yes, it’s just a little long in the tooth (it’s always worth remembering that New Zealand’s clonal material is, in general, absurdly young and frequently suboptimal), but what’s left is a coal-soaked study in bacon-fried lychee and drying, almost “orange wine”-like skins. There’s no lushness here, nor more than a token nod at what was, once, probably a noticeable softening from residual sugar. But it was still probably a dry-intentioned wine in its youth, and it most certainly is now, and that’s not always found in tandem with this sort of spice; usually, dry gewürztraminer outside of Alsace can rise to no more aromatic plateau than rose petals. So…a lot of words, not much of a conclusion. Here’s one: if it’s cheap (and this certainly was; I catch a whiff of “inventory clearance” from this bottle), one could really do a lot worse. (10/11)

Seigneurs moment

Trimbach 2001 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre” (Alsace) – A very recent purchase, allegedly due to the winery’s recently-abandoned importer dumping their stocks on large-volume buyers (in this case, the dreaded Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board), and from one of apparently 19 or so cases stacked in a suburban outpost of Pennsylvania’s ridiculous liquor monopoly and priced at far less than 50% of what I’d consider current retail. Now, I’m quite a fan of these sorts of inventory clearance sales, but this particular release has me either doubting the story or concerned on a wider scale, because there are signs of heat damage here. Not major, and not yet all that apparent in the wine (which is different from invisible), but there’s seepage enough to have escaped about a quarter of the corks and cause the capsules to become adhesive little nightmares of glutinous packaging. My expanded universe of worry results from a concern that the wine was delivered in this condition, which means that the damage occurred at the importer level, which would be – let me emphasize my personal concern on this point as person with more Trimbach in his cellar than any other wine – horrifying to contemplate. The other possibility, of course, is that the wine was fine at delivery and was very quickly baked by the fine folks at the PLCB, who is not legendary for their nurturing storage conditions. (Is that vague enough to keep the lawyers at bay?)

So what’s left? The sort of high-minded, mineral, wet gewurztraminer this cuvée is known for, resting more on its structure than almost any other Alsatian gewurztraminer of note. But a bit more dilute than I’d expect at this stage (I do expect closure from these wines, and this would be the time for it, but I think there’s more than a closed period at work here), and the bacony stage that this wine usually finds in its maturity has a little more smoke than usual, with just the faintest touch of caramelization. Based on which, of course, I see the heat damage that I expect from the condition of the bottles, though I wonder if I’d note it had I not seen the physical evidence. Based on this performance, I’m probably going to plow through most of these over the fairly term, leaving the smaller quantity of at-release purchases for a later date. (10/11)

Pfersigberg, we take Manhattan

Barmès Buecher 2004 Gewurztraminer Pfersigberg (Alsace) – Mildly corked, probably (it’s below my threshold, at least). What’s certain is that it’s not right. Pfersigberg can show as brittle, but this is just absent. (10/11)

From this point Hengst

Barmès Buecher 2001 Gewurztraminer Hengst (Alsace) – Lavish. Lychee, yes, but also cashews-as-fruit, and almonds. Hazelnuts. Just a hint of smoked pork. Very sweet, luxuriantly spicy, and…OK, yes, it’s a little acid-deficient for all that sweetness, but what does one expect from Hengst gewurztraminer in a (very) good vintage? In terms of age, I’d say it’s at very, very early maturity right now. Those who want a little more bacon to “cut” the sugar will have to wait. (10/11)

Eartha Kritt

Kreydenweiss 2001 Gewurztraminer Kritt “Les Charmes” (Alsace) – Strutting. But less Saturday Night Fever than Napoleonic, in that its confident mien is reserved, even dignified, yet no less boastful. Raw peach enveloped in silken cream, cashew oil, fully-developed structure leading to a thickened, almost dairy-like aspect akin to well-aged German riesling, though of course there’s less acidity here. There’s far from none, however, and that makes all the difference. I’d say this is fully ready, but I’ve said that before, and still the wine continues to move on down the road. (10/11)

Harth & home

Schoffit 1997 Gewurztraminer Harth “Cuvée Caroline” (Alsace) – Sweeeeeeet. Not a few “regular” gewürztraminers in this exceedingly hot vintage were unclassified vendanges tardives, even from otherwise restrained houses, and no one has ever accused Schoffit of restraint. What the actual potential alcohol of this wine is, or was, I don’t know and wouldn’t want to guess, but whatever it was they left an awful lot of sugar on the table…or, in this case, in the wine…and coupled with the vintage’s thoroughly absent acidity and the propensity of the grape and the fertile plain site to further abandon structural crispness, and you’re left with this: the most luxuriant dessert ever not offered as such. There are recognizably varietal elements here, mostly peach with a bit of lychee, but the syrup overwhelms all. And the age? Of course it has held – anything with this much sugar would – but there’s absolutely no hope of it developing into anything better. (10/11)