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A Winkeler & a nod

[spreitzer]Spreitzer 2007 Winekeler Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese (Rheingau) — Very, very ripe apple, pushed to the verge of tropicality. A metal band dins in the background. There’s enough acid, more than enough sugar, and it feels like it’s going to tip over at any second. But it doesn’t. Wait? Sure, why not? But it’s fun now, too. (4/16)

Émmy award

[cfe]Trimbach 1998 Riesling “Cuvée Frédéric Émile” (Alsace) — Fully mature. The dust of a once-mighty civilization, reduced to corroded steel and acid rain. Like drinking a raw nerve. Absolutely delicious, and everything I ever hoped when I chose to age this by the case. (4/16)


[cfe]Trimbach 1995 Riesling “Cuvée Frédérique Émile” (Alsace) — From magnum…and let me say, for the record, that the John Holmes-ian stature of a Trimbach magnum is a sight to behold. Wielding this giant phallic symbol deftly enough to connect wine with glass is a multi-handed operation, yet the wine is far less forbidding than its pour. In fact it’s a fairly straightforward CFE, its iron and steel fully exposed but with the filigreed detail eroded. It’s lost none of its nerve nor its high-polarity lines of force, yet the overall energy feels diminished and buffeted. Perhaps catching it a bit younger would have been better? (Disclosure: this bottle was a gift from Jean Trimbach, from a 1998 visit to the winery.) (4/16)


Spreitzer 2007 Winkeler Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese 025 08 (Rheingau) — Biting metallic apricot, a spot of cream. Brace, but also weight. Very “Rheingau,” says the friend who brought it. I agree. Age it longer if you crave that sort of thing (and I sometimes do), but the midpoint here is fun. (4/16)

Morphic resonance

Sheldrake Point 2013 Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) — I can’t quite decide if this is flat or blocky. I guess the utterly boring formlessness means it’s flat. Finishes…well, “stale” is the best word for it. I sense the effort towards power, but nothing’s achieved.

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)

Time for a Trim

Trimbach 2008 Riesling (Alsace) – A powerfully appealing vintage that has not yet closed down (if it ever will; these négociant bottlings sometimes do, and some of those even come out the other end tasting better…2001 was an example, though it’s well past its prime by now). Vibrant ironfruit, perfect structure. If this all sounds like overenthusiasm, note that what it lacks vs. better rieslings is complexity; this is a direct shot right at the heart of varietal rieslinghood in Alsace, but there’s no ricochet. (8/12)

Cigarette Smoking Man

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Riesling (Columbia Valley) – Almost-riesling. It actually doesn’t taste much like riesling, nor does it have riesling’s nerve, but it’s not unpleasant either. (8/12)

Brücken promise

Dönnhoff 1999 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 007 00 (Nahe) – Thick mineral stew with a peach glaze, over-reduced and tedious. Utterly devoid of useful acidity (meaning there’s not none, just not any that will rescue the wine). (6/12)