Trimbach 1997 Pinot Gris “Réserve Personnelle” (Alsace) — There’s a lot not going on here. Over the hill with entirely present oxidation, so while it’s possible other bottles will be more intact, it’s also possible this is premoxed (though I usually date Trimbach’s problems with premox to ’98, not ’97). (11/16)
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 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?
Trimbach 2001 Gewurztraminer “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) — From 375 ml. Weak-kneed, lacking the intensity, richness, spice, or sucrosity one truly expects from this wine. The fruit hasn’t developed at all, it has just faded. It’s sweet, no question, but it’s one-note; from Alsatian VT gewurztraminer, I expect a body slam. This is a gentle tickle. No one’s heart is in it. (5/16)
Trimbach 2000 Pinot Gris “Réserve Personnelle” (Alsace) — Even when these aren’t fully dry (as I’d guess, due to the richness, that this isn’t), there’s so much acid and structure that they act dry. More pear and metal than spice — that will change over time — and still swaggering and vibrant. I can’t believe I’m writing this about a 16 year old pinot gris, but: while it’s drinkable, I’d hold it longer. (5/16)
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)