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[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?

Keep Reading

Angrier than a Rosacker of cats

Mallo 2002 Riesling Rosacker (Alsace) – Salted rocks, banana leaves, and aggressive minerality pushed to the side by over-softening, wimpy residual sugar. The salinity is strident, and there are darker, smokier elements within, but why must such nice raw materials be rendered so spineless? This is at worst a very good, and at best an unparalleled, terroir. Mallo’s house style is soft and sweet, to be sure, but it serves this wine – which could have been great, but instead is merely good – very, very poorly. (5/10)

Mallo yellow

Mallo 2002 Riesling Rosacker (Alsace) – The minerality of the vineyard, reminiscent of the sea yet crystalline and vibrant, is fully present. There’s fine acidity and good length. I just wish there was the will to push the boundaries a bit…a little more intensity in the vineyard, a little less happified sweetness in the finished product. An underachievement, albeit a tasty one. (7/09)

Mallo yellow

Mallo 2002 Riesling Rosacker (Alsace) – Rocks with a heavy dose of salt. Intense and powerful. The thin layer of sweetness doesn’t detract, exactly, but it’s not really necessary either, and the wine would be better without it. Doesn’t approach the complexity of more famous Rosackers, but it does show the characteristics of the vineyard, and that’s something. (8/08)