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Fréd, you’re late

[trimbach cfe vt]Trimbach 2001 Riesling “Cuvée Frédéric Émile” “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) — Soft steel dripping with dewsparkle and the sweet nectar of honeysuckle. Beautifully balanced, precise, yet the sweetness is a bigger factor than the heft at the moment. More age? Perhaps. (7/16)

So Clos, so far

[clos ste-hune]Trimbach 1998 Riesling Clos Ste-Hune (Alsace) — The dreaded premature oxidation that has afflicted a number of turn-of-the-millennium wines from Trimbach rears its ugly head here. It’s far from total obliteration, but it’s persistent and dulls every bit of the experience. Behind the stale tin there’s a round, almost boisterous core of salty iron and fir needles, but among the other affects of the oxidation are an attenuated finish. The wine actually gains strength with time out of bottle, but the flaw never really goes away. A shame. (6/16)

[trimbach hors choix]

Or ə

Trimbach 1989 Riesling Clos Ste-Hune “Vendanges Tardives” “Hors Choix” (Alsace)

I don’t normally include tasting notes in the the blog’s main feed (they’re exiled here), because I feel that they’re one of the least interesting ways to talk about wine. (The worst are point or ranking systems, of course.) But this bottle overflows with personal meaning…both its past and its present…and to relegate it to a word-salad of descriptors was to do it, and me, a disservice.

I can only find four instances of Trimbach doling out the incredibly rare “Hors Choix” designation, though there may be more about which I don’t know. Two were for sélection des grains nobles bottlings that were/are so overwhelmingly sweet that finding a sensible occasion to open them is virtually impossible. (Not that they’re in any danger of fading; they may well be essentially deathless.) I own one of those — a gewurztraminer so dark brown with botrytis that I think even the richest possible pâté de foie gras might fade into nothingness — and while it’s unquestionably an extraordinary experience, it’s more or less the Sagrada Familia of wine: impressive to admire, to be sure, but what does one do with it?

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“Get in the hot tub! HUH!”

Dirler-Cadé 2014 Riesling Kessler “Heisse Wanne” (Alsace) — Full and rich. Molten coal, with a surprisingly soft finish. (5/16)

Dirler-Cadé 2008 Riesling Kessler “Heisse Wanne” (Alsace) — Blind, I’d guess this was Austrian. Intense, enormous, and long, with a dried metal finish. (5/16)


Dirler-Cadé 2012 Riesling Kessler (Alsace) — This seems to be aging somewhat quickly. Waxy, oxidative, and broad. (5/16)

Saering heat

Dirler-Cadé 2012 Riesling Saering (Alsace) — Vibrant, full-bodied, and round. Dried apricot with a gritty finish. (5/16)

Dirler-Cadé 2005 Riesling Saering (Alsace) — Extraordinary, yet its continuing evolution is apparent. Dry, dry, dry. (5/16)

Spiegel the plow

Dirler-Cadé 2014 Riesling Spiegel (Alsace) — Thirteen grams of residual sugar. Broad, floral, wet steel, but also very slightly oxidative. Weird. (5/16)

Dirler-Cadé 2001 Riesling Spiegel (Alsace) — Beautifully knit, soft cotton, iron flakes. Fully on form. (5/16)

Belz for her

Dirler-Cadé 2014 Riesling Belzbrunnen (Alsace) —  Nine grams of residual sugar. An intense whack of minerality, dust, and slate. Intensely aromatic. (5/16)


[becker]JB Becker 1993 Wallufer Walkenberg Riesling Kabinett Trocken 010 94 (Rheingau) — I’ve had this at three different trade events over the last year or so, and the only thing I can be definitive about is that it’s highly variable; some bottles are totally oxidized, others are full of sweaty, almost meaty bass thud. This is one of the latter, and though there’s a brace of acidity helping it cling to the memory of when it used to be able to hit the high notes, this is definitely a band who’s had to take everything down a half-dozen steps. When it’s good, though…it’s OK. (5/16)