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Alsace Walk Around Tasting - London


#1

Off to Alsace tasting on Monday. Anyone else going ?
Have printed off the list of 36 wines.
I’m guessing that tasting will be organised by grower but am wondering whether tasting by grape variety will work.


#2

I was contemplating, but decided against. Will be at the Rhone tasting in February.


#3

Really wanted to go - but couldn’t get the time off… :slightly_frowning_face:

Do let us know what your highlight were! :grinning:


#4

Can’t match your standards @Inbar but will try.


#5

Aw shucks…! :blush: don’t know what standards you’re talking about!!..


#6

That’s correct. Although there will be an index which will make tasting by variety easy to navigate if you wish to go that way.

You will also find two tables that have all 37 wines set up in a self pour format. This will allow you to do a quick taste through of any groups of wines without having to move between tables. For instance you might want to try the 3 pinot noirs side by side.

Of course speaking to the producers at their respective tables is the best bit about these tastings but hopefully this self pour section gives you a bit more control over what and how you taste.


#7

Cheers Tim, now I understand the self pour concept.


#8

We found a mixed approach worked quite well.
Tasting by grape variety. Initially working around the tables to talk to winemakers. Enjoying conversations with Hugel and Schlumberger in particular. Then we got to the raft of Riesling and Gewürztraminer, found that time pressure and ease of comparison made the self pour table a godsend. I think we got to 30 of the 36 wines. Probably a personal record, that owes much to WSET.
Thanks to @Tim_S and all the team


#9

Very much enjoyed the tasting, a good selection, and nice to see some of the growers. However, I ordered one of the wines at the time of the tasting (Grand Cru Brand, Dopff au Moulin 2010) and was told this morning that it wasn’t available. Why are we displaying wines which we cannot order? Other vintages of the same wine are not available either, and no idea as to whether more stock might come in. It was my top choice from the tasting. :neutral_face: Still, looking forward to the delivery of the rest of the great wines I have ordered. :slightly_smiling_face:


#10

For the record there were 36 wines shown at the tasting. But only 29 appeared on the d********* buy list.


#11

Some thoughts from the Domaine Weinbach dinner in Glasgow last night…I think that the wines served here would have been part of the London and Edinburgh Alsace tastings.

Served very cold, as aperitif. Bone dry (Society rating is 2, I would say 1). Fragrant, almost floral, subtly perfumed not as full on as Gewurz by any means . Long finish. I suspect it will age a bit too. Not sure if it’s worth £10 more than the Trimbach one though?

Superb and generous bouquet of lime and tropical fruit, followed through to good acidity on palate and again great persistence. Opened up really well in the glass. Excellent match with the crab with ginger and chilli starter.

Served alongside the above. Much more closed than it, a little austere and taut still. Better sipped on its own at present as the flavours in starter dominated it. Came out a bit more as it warmed in the glass, and will be a really good wine in several years, but still quite reserved in bouquet and palate for now.

Both of these Riesling will go beyond the WS drinking windows quite a bit in my view.

With a main course of Ras el Hanout spiced chicken breast with wild rice, couscous pumpkin seeds feta and harissa we had:

This hit the spot - voluptuous, fat and a bouquet that you could have inhaled all night…I would have put it as a 4 on the sweetness scale, not a 3. Needs food, and was a super match for the main course but would have gone well with cheese too, or a rich terrine so a real all through the meal wine. Superb and I thought worth the money (particularly with 10% off).

We also had:

Well made wine - I was trying to work out its Burgundian equivalent which might be a tad unfair. Nice balance of cherry fruit and some tannin (the food sweetened the tannins). I thought it was a bit like a Marsannay or a St Aubin red with a little more tannin. Not sure it’s quite a £25 wine though…but would certainly stand comparison to Burgundy at that price. Was maybe overshadowed a little by the PG which matched the food so well.

Finally…with a copious cheeseboard then pannacotta with rhubarb and sorbet…

This was (mistakenly) shown as a 7 on the sweetness scale - more like a 4 or 5. Flamboyant, huge bouquet of many of the usual Gewurz characteristics (not rose petal which I don’t really like). Lovely now, and worked with some of the cheese as well as holding its own with the rhubarb too. A crowd pleaser if you like Gewurz which I do, but quite a different style from the more austere Trimbach for example. I don’t think it has the acidity to age much longer though but will do fine for another couple of years at least.

Overall, there were no ordinary wines here, let alone poor. Stand outs for me were the Pinot Gris and the 2013 Riesling. Both drinking really well right now. The purity of fruit in all the wines was wonderful.

Food was very well matched to the wines, and Eddy Faller gave an excellent talk on the wines as well as being very good company at the meal with Jo Locke.

Thanks to all at WS who organised. I have already bought some of the above (as well as a couple of others from the wider selection) as I suspect the quantities won’t be huge in some cases.

I’d be interested to hear views of those at the wider tasting on these and the other wines tasted.


#12

Thanks for your great notes, @MarkC! I really wish I were there! :grin:
The PG, in particular, sounds just up my street (and going in the wishlist)! :+1::+1:


#13

Never mind the wines, that sounds delicious! :plate_with_cutlery:


#14

Oh it was…the whole meal was great. Alsace is such a food friendly wine too.


#15

Tasting Notes
my top 3 of the night
The Society’s Exhibition Alsace Riesling 2016 - Typicity - exactly what an exhibition wine should be
Riesling ‘Pur de roche’, Joseph Cattin 2015- loved the minerality of this one.
Pinot Gris Estate Hugel 2016

Interesting that these are all fairly young wines. I think the older wines would have impressed more with food. see @MarkC

Sparkling

Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée Julien Dopff au Moulin NV £13.50

Pinot Blanc based. Quite aromatic. Fresh lemon sherbet (in a nice way) with a little biscuit. Slightly lacking in depth compared to a good Champagne. Good value

White

Auxerrois

4 . Auxerrois, Louis Sipp 2016 £10.95

Little going on, on the nose

Off dry – grapey, similar to a Pinot Gris or perhaps Muscat.

Surprisingly long - worth a try

Pinot Blanc

  1. Pinot Blanc, Cave de Turckheim 2017 £7.50

Attractive floral nose and follows thru to a delicate perhaps appley palate.

Long aftertaste excellent value for money

Sylvaner

  1. Sylvaner, Domaine Albert Boxler 2016 £22

Closed nose

Very dry, almost sour. Grapefruit.

Perhaps this will mellow with age.

Poor value

Muscat (Dry)

10 . Muscat Réserve, Domaine Weinbach 2016 £25

Grapes and oranges on the nose

Lovely Orange marmalade on the complex palate

And very long

Very different to the Trimbach below. Not my cup of tea, but my tasting colleague liked it.

I agree with @markc imho not worth £10 more than the Trimbach

  1. Muscat Réserve, Trimbach 2017 £14.95

Classic grapey nose

Very good fruit on palate, but for me the high acidity needs to calm down a little

Good value

Pinot Gris

  1. Pinot Gris, Louis Sipp 2016 £13.50

A little spice on the nose

Mineral with a good mouthfeel.

I liked this

17. Pinot Gris, Cave de Turckheim 2017 £8.95

A fresh inviting nose

Rather simple. Good value but nothing exciting

35. Pinot Gris Estate, Famille Hugel 2016 £16.50

Beautiful fresh scented nose.

Apples and pears, although didn’t get the mealy taste attributed by TWS.

An excellent wine. My favourite of the 3 Pinot Gris

Blends

19. Zind, Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Vin de France 2016 £18.50

A most unusual wine, 70% chardonnay from 30 year old vines,

Blended with Auxerrois from a single vineyard. Excellent mouthfeel, great balance and minerality reminded me a little of a premier cru Chablis. Should age longer than TWS 2021 guide.

22. Edelzwicker Special Cuvée, Joseph Cattin 2017 £8.50

Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurz.

Muscat and Gewurz dominate the nose, while Riesling shines on the intense grapey/citrus palate. Wow this certainly got the taste buds going. Staggering value, highly recommended. I like all the Cattin wines.

34. The Society’s Vin d’Alsace 2017 £9.50

Made by Hugel. A blend of all the noble grapes.

Similar to the Edelzwicker, but in a lighter more elegant style. Also excellent value and highly recommended

Riesling

6. Riesling, Muehlforst, Domaine Louis Sipp 2013 £14.95

Was there something wrong with this bottle ?

No petrol, no fruit. Tried to get a second sample later, but failed.

7. The Society’s Exhibition Alsace Riesling 2016 £14.50

Just a hint of petrol with a little lime on the nose

Lemons and lime on the palate

Great length and acidity

Possibly my favourite wine of the night

9. Alsace Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Josmeyer 2009 £37

Wow – petrol in the extreme combined with intense almond paste/marzipan

Sorry I’m not a fan of marzipan, so found the nose very disconcerting.

Excellent mouthfeel, complex with a hint of sweetness on the back palate and very long.

Good if you can get past that nose.

11. Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg, Domaine Weinbach 2016 £34

Grapefruit and a whiff of petrol.

Off dry ? Lemon drizzle cake came to mind, good acidity and length, yum

One to lay down ?

14. Riesling Réserve, Trimbach 2015 £18

Nose a little closed. quite simple. A good example but the Society’s offers better value.

15. Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg, Trimbach 2012 £65

A beautiful pale gold. Lovely petrol dominated nose

Lemons and lemon curd on the palate. Very long

A great wine one day but £65 ?

18. Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Cave de Turckheim 2013 £16

Very pale. Lemons and petrol on the nose. Good acidity and balance. Medium length another good example, drinking well now.

21. Alsace Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2009 £48

A lovely golden colour, reflecting its age. Petrol, oatmeal and a slight earthiness on the nose.

This has developed nicely. Complex and long. A stunning wine but £48 ?

24. Riesling ‘Pur de Roche’, Joseph Cattin 2015 £20

From a limestone outcrop, lovely notes of lemons, limes and petrol.

And similar on the palate with a streak of minerality.

Another favourite and highly recommended

27. Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg, Domaine Albert Boxler 2011 £39

Petrol with lime and a hint of almonds. Lemon sherbet (in a nice way), and limes. Tastes much younger than 2011 with great acidity, so should live for ever. My favourite of the older vintage Rieslings (although see Saering note) and worth the price for pleasures to come.

29. Riesling Grand Cru Saering, Domaines Schlumberger 2010

Gewurztraminer £16

I guess this has to be a bit of a bargain. Much cheaper than most of the similarly aged Rieslings, but perhaps at its peak ?

This has petrol and almonds/ marzipan on the nose and palate, but in balance and done very nicely. If you like almonds try this one.

Gewurztraminers

I’m afraid at this point we were running short of time and my tasting colleague was sitting out with palate fatigue. So very limited notes on the first few Gewurz.

2. Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Sporen, Dopff au Moulin 2016 23.50

Not tasted

3. Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Brand, Dopff au Moulin 2010 £24

The TWS notes say exotic. Have to say my first reaction was Horrible. Ok I got over it, but this was heavy duty Gewurz, desperately in need of foie gras.

8. Gewurztraminer ‘Folastries’ Josmeyer 2016 £21

Totally turkish delight.

12. Gewurztraminer Altenbourg, Domaine Weinbach 2013 35

Not tasted

20. Gewurztraminer ‘Roche Calcaire’, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2016 £20

Good mouthfeel & lychees, in a sweet style. Should be a good match to Chinese and Thai food

My favourite Gewurz, perhaps because it was the lightest at only 11% alcohol.

23. Gewurztraminer Bollenberg Cuvée Prestige, Théo Cattin et Fils 2016 £13.95

Not tasted, but the other Cattin wines were excellent so I’d give this a punt.

26. Gewurztraminer Réserve, Domaine Albert Boxler 2015 £26

Not tasted


#16

Excellent notes, @Kent_wino! Really wish I were there - sounds like my dream evening…! :grin:

A few of your favourites duly added to the wishlist. And I must get some Edelzwicker, pronto!!


#17

I was at this tasting too.

Mid- price Rieslings:

My top two picks and the ones which went into the order basket were:

14. Riesling Réserve, Trimbach 2015 £18

18. Riesling Grand Cru Brand, Cave de Turckheim 2013 £16

These offered a good balance between petrol and citrus on the nose and were my value picks. I’ve had the Trimbach from a previous vintage before and remembered enjoying it, so happy to squirrel a few away.

The Exhibition label and the Joseph Catton were not far behind.

The Domaine Louis Sipp was the first wine I tried, and the most disappointing. Although the wine I tried had very strong petrol on the nose, which was overwhelming.

Higher-price Rieslings:

My stand out pick was my 11th consecutive (and final) Riesling of the night, and also the best:

27. Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg, Domaine Albert Boxler 2011 £39

This awoke me from a little Riesling fatigue and made me pay attention. Lot’s going on with this one, the petrol and citrus were there, but also a bit of spice. The finish was long, and this wine was a bit bigger than the other wines. But I liked that, and it found its way onto my order. I’m now wondering why I didn’t buy more.

My second pick would have been the Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. Of the other higher price options, the Trimbach was very nice – but at £65 not nearly nice enough. The Josmeyer was too far along the petrol spectrum for my taste.

Pinot Noir

I went to this tasting really wanting to like the pinots. And I really tried. But I failed. There wasn’t anything wrong with the wines per se, in fact I struggled a little to rationalise to myself why I didn’t like them. I did read a comment on the community from someone which resonated, that they are too thin and akin to rosé. So, I’m sticking to Burgundy and new world pinot for now.

The Clos Saint Landelin, was the best wine, but at £34 my first thought was I can get a better burgundy equivalent. I’d seen the Cote du Rouffach (£21) spoke well of here, so was looking forward to trying it. The nose was of delightful summer strawberries, but on taste was a little disappointing. This fell into the too thin category for me. My pick of the pinots would therefore have been the Domaines Schlumberger (£17.50) – more from elimination and value perspective than anything else.

Other:

Muscat Réserve, Trimbach 2017 £14.95

I liked this, and it got added on to the order, very versatile. I preferred this to the more expensive Domaine Weinbach one (I agree with the not worth £25 comments above).

Half bottle of Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive, Famille Hugel 2010 £19

First time I’ve sampled a dessert wine from this grape and I thought it was great at that price. If I wasn’t already sorted for pudd wines for Christmas, I’d have put this on the order.

I tried the Hugel and Louis Sipp pinot gris. Both were good, neither stood out, the hugel was maybe a touch sweeter.

The sylvaner from Domaine Albert Boxer (£22) was disappointing, I got very little on the nose or mouth.

So overall it was an interesting and educational evening, only the second WS tasting I’ve been to. I liked the self-pour area!


#18

@Kent_wino and @Rodmunch thanks for the feedback from the wider tasting.

Nice to see that a couple of the cheaper wines were well rated too. I do like the WS Vin d’Alsace and must try the Edelzwicker. The Turckheim co-op wines are always pretty sound entry level too.

I haven’t had the Trimbach Muscat for a few years - I suspect that I might prefer the Weinbach one, but as I think we’ve all noted, there’s not £10 of difference!

Interesting comments on the PN from @Rodmunch. I can only comment on the Weinbach one, which certainly wasn’t too thin or rose like, though interestingly Eddy Faller commented that a lot are more rose like. It was a decent wine, akin to a lighter village Burgundy, with decent fruit and good balance, but was a bit overshadowed by a couple of the whites.

@Kent_wino, I agree that the older wines went better with food. the '16 Wienbach Riesling was a little overshadowed by the food and the (lesser) '13 Riesling, although I think it will be a lovely wine in 5 years.

As well as three of the Faller wines, I’ve bought a couple of Zind Humbrecht and I already have a couple of Boxler Rieslings bought elsewhere recently.

I see the Trimbach Cuvee des Seigneurs from 2011 is on the half bottles list, and I may well get a couple of them, as I really like it, much drier style than many. I am not a Turkish delight or marzipan person!


#19

@Rodmunch
Which vintages were the PN you tried?
Given Alsace climate, I would only try PN from “hotter” vintages… (a bit like for Sancerre…)


#21

I agree completely about the Alsace Pinot Gris, but I think @ruifilipe was asking about PN.