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Helfrich 2001 Gewurztraminer Steinklotz (Alsace) – Dense and floral; roses in full bloom. White rocks lie beneath, perhaps basalt. The finish is foamy and high-toned. Decidedly off-dry, but it doesn’t suffer much for it. (2/08)

Cecily or Helfrich?

Helfrich 2001 Gewurztraminer Steinklotz (Alsace) – Very mineral-driven, with a chilly, frozen-fruit aspect. Mandarin orange and peach/pear skins dominate, with fine acidity throughout, and a light, unobtrusive layer of sweetness. It’s not a big wine by any means, and I think it could be pushed a little harder (though not made any sweeter) to greater effect, but it’s true to itself. (4/08)

Cluver honey

[vineyard]Paul Cluver 2005 Gewurztraminer (Elgin) – Aromatic and promising, leaning towards the vegetative expression of gewürztraminer (curry leaves, Makrut, coriander seed pods, whole lychee on the stem), but with enough of the usual spice to provide varietal consistency. I’m less enthusiastic about the rest, though, as the palate seems a little wan despite a lot of promising entrances from the usual array of nut oils, Indian spices, and stone fruits, and the finish tails off and disappears rather more quickly than I’d like. (3/08)

Hu’s there?

[bottles]Hugel 2005 Gewurztraminer (Alsace) – Thin and dusty, with a little bit of fragrant, spicy character but a lot of emptiness that it doesn’t even come close to filling. It has the virtue of being dry, but that’s about it (3/08)

Radio aromatico

Vivallis 2007 Traminer Aromatico (Trentino) – Light aroma, only the faintest suggestion of spice, and overt crispness. Uninteresting. (2/08)

Radio aromatico

Franz Haas 2003 Traminer Aromatico (Alto Adige) – Fat and lightly sweet-seeming (is it? probably not; it could just be the alcohol, which is intrusive), with bitter vanilla overtones and a core featuring a rather bizarre fruit salad: apricot skins, tangerine rind, and grapefruit dusted with a little nutmeg. Decent acidity only becomes apparent on the finish, by which time this blocky, pushy wine has managed to offend. Lacking complexity or actual presence, it replaces these qualities with sheer weight, but little substance. I’d like to try this in a different vintage. (10/07)

The upside-down "e"

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Sélection des Grains Nobles” “Hors Choix” (Alsace) – Made from the first botrytis-seeking pass through the vineyard. The resulting grapes were picked 23.5% potential alcohol, but the finished wine is 13%, leaving 170 grams/liter of residual sugar. The wine is dark, dark bronze, and absolutely lush with botrytis, showing a huge brown-sugar-encrusted, baked lychee palate with iron flakes and as endless a finish as I’ve ever experienced. Truly unbelievable. (5/06)

Gewurz of times

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) – 55 grams/liter residual sugar. Still firm and tight in its youth…Trimbach’s gewürztraminer VTs rarely have the easy, early charm of other producers’ bottlings…but it is thick with roses and lychee syrup with dark, smoky streaks and fogs. The acidity is terrific, the finish is long, and the wine is excellent; stylistically, it’s more akin to the brilliant 1998 than the powerful 1997. (5/06)

The senior guillotine

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre” (Alsace) – 10 grams/liter residual sugar. Rock- and mineral-driven, with smoky pork jerky spiced with cloves, plus lychee, pear, and rose petals. The finish adds bitter cashew oil, but is primarily sharp, structured edges holding themselves distant from the intense core. This is a really good SdR, with much aging potential. (5/06)


[label]Hugel 1997 Gewurztraminer “Hommage à Jean Hugel” (Alsace) – 375 ml. Very, very sweet, with a dark, quartz-like cylinder of metal surrounding…well, not a whole lot. The interior of the wine is wan and diffuse. Where’s the beef? Or, since it’s gewürztraminer, the pork? This wine promises a lot, but it just doesn’t deliver like it should. (12/07)