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"Blancs d'Alsace"

August 12, 2002 • Upstairs Downtown

Tasting Blancs d'Alsace.Serving Alsatian Krautwurst.Alsatian krautwurst.Mixing Up Varietals was such an exciting and enlightening exercise, we did it again; only this time we mixed up white varietals from France. Since Alsace allows a range of whites that all stay within a fruity-fragrant vein, we thought this could be very interesting. The assortment turned out to be a fairly well balanced representation of the appellation: one proprietary blend, one Sylvaner, two each of Riesling and three each of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc. Roy prepared a matched menu of braised sausages, cabbage, onions, and apples.

 

Brand Varietal / "Type"
Vintage,
Appellation, Vineyard

TASTING NOTES: Color; aroma; flavor; body;
balance; finish. Alcohol. Varietal composition
(if known). Summary. ($ paid)

Wines are considered Equal Quality
Within Categories of Recommendation
(Listed Alphabetically by Brand)

consensus terms appear in bold
(possible flaws? are in brackets)
* indicates a second or third party
WEBSITE

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Hugel Gewürztraminer label.Hugel Gewürztraminer 2000, Alsace
Brilliant, very pale straw color; big, sweet, bubblegum, candy, ripe, fruity, peach, pear, banana, floral, violets, rose petal, spice, pine, juniper and mineral aromas; barely sweet, ripe, fresh fruit, "fruit bomb", white peach, pear, apple, citrus and slightly mineral flavors; rich body; very nice sugar-acid balance; faintly bitter, green notes in long finish. 13% alcohol. This wine has a gloriously floral nose, more like a bouquet than a glass of wine, although the flavors are packed with fruit; the clear winner of the flight. Drinks well on its own and was excellent with Roy's "Krautwurst". ($16) WEBSITE

RECOMMENDED

Dopff & Irion "Crustaces" label.Dopff & Irion
"Crustacés"
2000,
Alsace

Clear, very pale straw color; light, clean, attractive, fresh, floral, vanilla, fruity, pear, citrus, lemon and vinous aromas; light, delicate, clean, pleasant, barely dry, faintly unripe, citrus, grapefruit, mineral flavors; light body; good balance, tart, crisp; slightly astringent, sharp (metallic?), but quick finish, fades fast. 11.5% alcohol. Predominantly Sylvaner in blend, presumably from clues on website. Very nice quaffer that "lacks length and dimension", but is unlikely to offend any drinker or interfere with any cuisine; and, at a great price! ($8) BEST BUY WEBSITE

Cave de Ribeauville Gewürztraminer label.Cave de Ribeauville
Gewürztraminer
1999,
Alsace, "Weingarten"

Brilliant, rich, light gold color; big, complex, fruity, peach, kiwi, floral, honey, wax, almond, litchie nut, spicy and mineral aromas with a hint of matchstick (rubber?, SO2?); sweet entry, ripe, deep, off-dry, honey, spicy, mineral flavors; mild mouthfeel, lush, round, oily texture, unctuous, viscous, full body; well balanced, with just enough tartness and backbone; short, tangy, peach pit, slightly bitter finish. 13.5% alcohol. The big, spicy nose and full-bodied, oily texture argue for this wine coming pretty close to varietally-correct, classic Alsatian Gewürztraminer. The front label is a Pascal Henri Poirot painting and the winery name is only printed in very tiny letters on the back label. ($17.50) WEBSITE

Marc Tempe Pinot Blanc label.Marc Tempé
Pinot Blanc 1999, Alsace, "Priegel"

Faintly hazy, pale yellow-green color; fruit salad, apple, citrus, grapefruit, lemon peel, sealing wax, minerals, stones, gunpowder, earth and older-aged aromas with some oak and musty notes; clean, ripe, rich, barely dry, complex, fruit salad, citrus, fig, spicy, mineral, slate, gunmetal flavors; zingy, slightly spritzy, oily body; excellent balance, slightly tart; faint bitterness, astringency in fairly long finish. 13% alcohol. This wine is very complex, quite intriguing and yet quite easy to drink, although a couple of panelists were bothered by the finish. ($21) *WEBSITE

TASTED

Zind-Humbrecht Riesling label.Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
Riesling
1996,
Alsace, "Clos St. Urbain"

Clear, dull, light gold color; big, fat, complex, floral, hay, honeyed, overripe fruit, apricot, melon, citrus, mineral, aged, wet wood, older, musty and slightly fusel aroma (stale?. oxidized?, maderized? Brettanomyces? SO2?); complex, but developed and integrated, cooked fruit, baked apple, fig, melon, citrus, mineral, wet stone and musty flavors (flat?); rich body; good balance, slightly tart; finish lingers well. 12.5% alcohol. Older rieslings seem to be an acquired taste, so this wine, although nicely made, in relatively good condition and "begging for ripe, smelly cheese", remains the most controversial of the flight (several tasters noticed flaws, but none agreed on a particular one). ($45) *WEBSITE

Hugel "Gentil" label.Hugel
"Gentil"
2000,
Alsace

Clear, light straw color; very light, muted fruit, citrus, musty aromas (filter pad?, slightly corked?); light, barely sweet flavors are mostly mineral with little fruit; light body; crisp, good balance; mouth-watering, long finish. 12% alcohol. By local custom, AC regulation, this wine must be made from "noble varieties". Disappointing, since we have liked this wine very well in the past, but this was only a ghost of itself. Sometimes a slightly cork-tainted bottle can be more frustrating than a fully ruined one. ($10) WEBSITE

Trimbach Gewürztraminer label.Trimbach
Gewürztraminer
1998,
Alsace

Bright, very pale straw color; very light, sweet fruit, fig, white peach, citrus, orange peel, floral, honey, perfume, spicy, peppermint and aromas with faintly vegetal and cardboard (filter pad?) notes; slightly sweet, ripe, light floral, honeysuckle and mineral flavors (chemical?); soft, fat body; balance slightly off, sweet-tart, little low in acid; cloying, but faintly bitter finish. 13% alcohol. A bit dull, lacks real interest or intrigue and elements somehow seem "adulterated" and mixed, rather than "natural" and blended. ($15.50) WEBSITE

Trimbach Riesling label.Trimbach
Riesling
1998,
Alsace

Clear, light greenish straw color; youthful, fruity, apricot, citrus, orange rind, floral, honeysuckle, wax, oak, fusel, petroleum, diesel and terpene aromas; dry, austere, underripe, citric, sour fruit, musty, earthy, mineral and flint flavors; silky, sappy, watery, thin body; fair balance, tangy, somewhat acidic; medium length, very mouth-watering, slightly hot finish. 12% alcohol. Rather harsh wine that attacks the palate; neither very pleasant, nor completely awful; snobs may say it's "a little too sophisticated" for our taste - we say it's "a little too sadistic". ($15.50) WEBSITE

NOT RECOMMENDED

Francois Baur Pinot Blanc label.Francois Baur
Pinot Blanc
1998,
Alsace, "Herrenweg"

Brilliant, light straw color; stinky, skunky, rancid, rotten egg, smoky, musty, cooked vegetable aromas overpower any fruit (H2S?, slightly oxidized? corked?); tight, "flat Champagne", immature fruit, citrus, funky, petroleum flavors are hard to judge; hollow body; tart, acidic balance; finish. 12.5% alcohol. Lacking flavor overall, and with multiple flaws - some very unappealing elements in the nose, there is nothing here to recommend. ($10.70) WEBSITE

Josmeyer Pinot Blanc label.Josmeyer
Pinot Blanc
1999,
Alsace

Clear, very pale straw color; light fruit, melon, orange peel, mineral, gunflint aromas (sumpy?, corked?); light, weak, dry, grassy, barnyard flavors (off?); watery body; fair balance, very tart and acidic; mean, steely finish. 12% alcohol. Although corked to a degree, we've had worse examples; this wine managed to give us a tiny peek at its character. ($14) WEBSITE


This Panel included Regulars Mark, Deanna, Glenn, Bob, Roy, Jon, Jim L., and Jim V. and Guest Peter
About Alsace Vins d'AlsaceAbout GewürztraminerAbout Pinot BlancAbout RieslingAbout Proprietary Blends

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Updated October 21, 2002
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