Browse Tag


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)

A Noval idea

Quinta do Noval 1985 Porto (Douro) – Delicious but still more primary than not, which state I expect to persist for a time measured in decades. It’s certainly enjoyable despite the lack of movement, with a rich and extremely intense mélange of berries cut on the horizontal axis by significant tannin and on the vertical axis by fine acidity. And while it’s certainly sweet, it shares with better Ports a dominant vinosity that makes the sucrosity much more interesting as counterpoint rather than point. I’m lucky enough to have more of this, and will not be even attempting another exploration for a good long while. (8/11)

Now with extra muris

Château d’Arlay 2000 Vin Issu de Raisins Surmuris (Jura) – A declassified macvin (I was told the whys of it by the producer, but other than a vague memory that it was rejected as atypical I’m not certain of the reason). Powerfully, intensely, tooth-infusingly sweet. If I may deliberately misappropriate the French name, this really does taste like raisins. Hyper-ripe dates, as well, drizzled with molasses and with the scent of pine sap lingering somewhere in the background. It’s pretty amazing stuff, but a very little bit goes an extremely long way. (8/11)

Last in the grave

P. Blanck 1997 Gewurztraminer Furstentum “Sélection de Grains Nobles” (Alsace) – 375 ml. Cruising along, essentially untouched by time. Quite sweet, extremely flavorful (roses and rambutan syrup), not all that complex, with fair structure and plenty of cream. Maturity, and its concomitant complexity, are a long, long way down the road. (8/11)

Michelin silver medal

Studert-Prüm 2003 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese ** 11 04 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – 375 ml, cork soaked through, and a wine that may or may not be showing signs of that damage. I’ve had it intact before (cork-wise; I can’t speak for the wine), and it was good-but-only then. This seems pretty much the same. Maybe a slight whiff of caramel to start, but that blows off rather abruptly. What’s left is creamy, but it’s not the cream of riesling maturity, it’s the cream of sucrosity. This is a very sweet wine. (I initially wrote “powerfully” there, but there’s nothing powerful about this wine; it’s girthy without much force or pressure, and to its detriment. There’s peach, orange/vanillasicle, a very long finish, some brushes with the faintest ground iron. Maybe in time? A lot of time? Perhaps. I’m dubious, though. (8/11)

Men’s road

Château Guiraud 2001 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – Extremely advance, to a point that I can’t believe this bottle is intact. Already here are the bronze, caramelized, slightly oxidized brown sugar elements of mature Sauternes, and that’s just extremely unlikely after only ten years. (8/11)

…and some are sheim

Boxler 2004 Riesling Sommerberg “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) – A bit closed, which here means that it’s showing more riesling and late harvesting than Sommerberg at the moment. It is, like most Boxler Sommerbergs, poised and confident, but I think it needs a whole lot more time before it’s ready to strut. (8/11)

(Don’t) lay down Torselli

Torselli 2003 VinSanto del Chianti Classico (Tuscany) – 50 cl. I don’t, as a rule, drink much vin santo these days, and thinking about it for a while I realized that it was because so much of what I tasted was sort of tedious. Not bad, just much less interesting than sweet wines from elsewhere. Here, though, that tedium is coupled with another problem: the vintage, which tended to render sweet wines a little flabby and vapid. This is the case here. Sweet gold fruit, hacked off at the edges and without much of a start or finish. (8/11)


Bollig-Lehnert 2002 Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Auslese *** 14 04 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – 375 ml. Sweet industrial apple, apricot, lime leaf. The beginnings of cream come to a screeching halt far earlier in the finish than one expect. A disappointment. (7/11)

Bollig-Lehnert 2002 Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Auslese *** 14 04 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – 375 ml. Peach, ultra-ripe apple cream, aluminum, none of them saved by a late spike of gooseberry and a hint of Makrut lime. Very simple, straightforward, basic. Young, yes, but it’s already showing signs of quick maturity, and I don’t see much upside. Though maybe I’m wrong.(8/11)