This is a delicious grand cru riesling from Domaines Schlumberger in Alsace. Towards gold in colour, its aroma reminds of steel and lemon zest. The palate is firm with a rich body, racy acidity and good length on the finish. You can approach it now, but this wine has years of cellaring ahead of it. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $50. Website: https://www.domaines-schlumberger.com.
The first of three pinot gris posts, each of them representing different styles. This Alsation pinot gris has a quite distinctive aroma of candy, pears, pear spirits and florals. The palate is dry with fresh acidity and medium length. Overall, a pleasant enough, current drinking rendition of pinot gris that is very different from the southern Australian versions. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $19. Website: www.dopff-au-moulin.fr.
Schlossberg is an 80 hectare grand cru in Alsace that is situated eight kilometres from Colmar, overlooking the Weiss Valley. The Vins Alsace website actually has a lot of further information, including some very cool interactive maps that highlight the region’s stunning beauty. You can find it here. This wine from Paul Blanck is a very good wine. A yellow gold in colour, it has aromas of lemon and touch of honey. The palate is rich and mostly dry, with flavours reminding of lemon, stones and tropical fruit, supplemented by fresh acidity and long length on palate. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: not recorded. Price: $60. Website: www.blanck.com/en/
I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas. Here are a couple of red Bordeaux that are sub $30, and an Alsace pinot noir for obscurity’s sake.
Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve Alsace 2013
Presents as Burgundy like and represents pretty good value for $33. Restrained and savoury, with sour cherry and minerally aromatics. The palate is dry with light but firm tannins and subtle but persistent length. The fruit warms up in the glass, but remains resolutely cool climate in style. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $33.
Chateau Guillon Graves Bordeaux 2014
Deepish, but not overly so, in colour. There are savoury and earthy aromatics of dark cherry, soy and tomato bush. The palate yields some pencil lead characters with time in the glass from the oak. Medium length, medium bodied, with some suggestion of acidity on the finish. Pleasant drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $30.
Chateau Tour Prignac Médoc Bordeaux 2014
Yes. Restrained, savoury, licorice, earth and blackcurrant aromatics. Mostly older oak in evidence, with good length, a medium body and firm tannins. A good cru bourgeois at a fair price. I plan to buy more of this. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $29.
I attended this amazing tasting back in April. It was almost a case study in outstanding premier cru and grand cru red Burgundy with 15 or more years of age on the wines. Only two wines missed the mark – one due to cork taint, the other presenting as simplistic (for a grand cru) due to suspected heat damage. Whether new to the Burgundy maze or a veteran palate, I would actively recommend all of these wines. Here are my notes.
Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Ruchottes 2008
There are 51 Chassagne-Montrachet premier crus, and Les Ruchottes is among the better of them. The 2008 has aromas of lemon, minerals, nectarine and stone. The palate is full bodied, with good freshness and a long finish. Very Good to Outstanding
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Perrières 2002
Les Perrières is a rocky and stony vineyard and one of Nuits-Saint-George’s 37 premier crus. 2002 was a good vintage and it shows in this wine. Aromas of sweet leather, truffles, mature earth and cherry. The palate has fresh racy acidity, long length and a cherry core. Delicious. Very Good to Outstanding
Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Les Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus 2002
Les Grèves is a 31.33 hectare premier cru vineyard in Beaune and is well regarded. The 2002 “L’Enfant Jésus” has aromas of florals, potpourri and roses. The palate is slippery with fresh acidity and a certain softness through the palate. A tannic grip emerges with air, as do some cedar characters. Very Good
Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny Grand Cru 2001
Words do inadequate justice to this exquisite wine. Its siren call is strong. Dark cherry, blackcurrant and leather aromatics promise much. It is the palate though which truly astounds. Long length, delicate, light and shade with a lick of tannin. Burgundy at its finest. Outstanding with a plus
Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1990
Clos Vougeot is 50.59 hectares in size and the largest grand cru in the Côte de Nuits with a somewhat varied reputation befitting its size. 1990 was a good vintage. In the glass, this wine has aromatics of blackcurrant, cherry and an austere iron like character. There’s long length on the palate with a hint of dryness at the finish. Very Good
Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Chaignots 1998
Les Chaignots is a 5.86 hectare premier cru vineyard in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The 1998 is an elegant wine, with aromas of blackcurrant, and even hints of pepper. The palate has firm tannins and mid range length. Good
Domaine de Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2001
Clos des Lambrays is a grand cru vineyard in Morey-Saint-Denis. This is an impressive Clos de Lambrays, with aromas of cherry and spice, which continue on the palate supplemented by very long length. The tannins suggest this wine has some time to go yet. Happily, I have a second bottle. Very Good to Outstanding
Domaine Jean-Michel Guillon Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2002
Mazis-Chambertin is a grand cru in Gevrey Chambertin and is 9.1 hectares in size. This is a delicious wine from the 2002 vintage, with aromas of blackcurrant, spice and strawberry. The palate gives a fuller bodied and ripe impression with long length on the finish. Very Good to Outstanding
Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 1988
Jancis describes this vintage as “tough and unusually backward” with the best requiring a 20 year wait. Well, here we are. It has aromas of cherry and a touch of animal (brett suspected). The palate has a metallic note, with mid range length, stoney characters and tannins that are resolved, but still there. Points for making it nearly three decades. Very Good
Comte Armand Clos des Epeneaux Pommard 2006
A comparative baby in this set. Still youthful, it has aromatics of cherry, and a palate that is full bodied in impression, with big wood driven tannins. Needs time. Good to Very Good
The tasting finished with a delicious Alsace pinot gris from Domaine Zind Humbrecht with aromas of honey, currants and sultanas, and the palate medium sweet in impression. Unfortunately my photo proved particularly poor and does not yield the details of the vintage and label. If you are an expert label spotter (or better still were at the tasting!), please chime in and I’ll post it.
This wine, an Alsace riesling, was spotted for sub $20 at a big box retailer. And it’s pretty good too. It has quite pungent lemon, metal and stone aromatics. The palate is about line and length, with very high acid helping cut through its mid weight body. Some fruit sweetness and the high acidity helps blur the dry/off dry distinction, but I settled on dry. I’d buy this. (Region: Alsace, France, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now to 2025, Tasted: Mar, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
It is true, I neither buy nor drink enough riesling as I should. German riesling, Alsace riesling, Clare and Eden Valley riesling, Austrian riesling, all unduly neglected. I don’t really even have the excuse of price with Clare and Eden Valley riesling – both are well underpriced relative to quality. This wine from Paul Blanck is really a rather exceptional example of high quality Alsace riesling for just under $50. It has aromatics of stones, smoke and lemon zest. The palate is dry, the acidity high and the length towards long on the finish. This is a firm but delicious wine that will interest those brought up on steely Aussie riesling. It should age easily for another decade, but is joyous should you look at it now.
Rating: Very Good
Abv: not recorded
Vendors and website: http://www.blanck.com
This is a solid, if unspectacular riesling. A pale intensity lemon in colour, it has aromatics that are youthful and remind of lemon, lime, stones, lemon peel, talc and flowers. The palate is dry, has medium to high acid, and expressions of lemon, lime and stones together with a youthful sparkle. The length is fairly short, and the wine seemed a bit hot and stretched at times, but otherwise it’s pleasant enough. Acceptable
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
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This is a very good riesling from Josmeyer, an excellent producer in the Alsace region of France. The Le Kottabe riesling is sourced from 35 year old vineyards between Wintzenheim and Turckheim in the Haut Rhin region and is grown on soils of sand, shingle, silt, with plenty of pebbles and loess. The wine opens to quite exotic and intense aromatics of stone, guava, light quince and mango. On the palate, the riesling is dry, with flavours reminding of dried mango, quince and guava, with a medium length finish. Overall, I found this to be a very good wine due to its balance, length, the sheer concentration of its fruit flavours, and the complexity hidden away in its exotic fruit layers. An easy one to recommend. Very Good
Price: $40s (current vintage)
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
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For reasons that I don’t wish to disturb as a consumer, Alsace gewurtztraminer can be remarkably well priced. Here we have a “Grand Cru” at not much more than $50. Perhaps it is because gewurtztraminer has few longer term admirers. A book waiting to be written? Or perhaps the labels of Alsace are too easy to decipher with their rather non-French identification of the grape variety, front and centre. Anyway, for good value, look no further than this impressive wine.