(English) Alsace New and Recent Releases 2020 and Further Back Part 3

(English) In part 3 of the Alsace New and Recent Releases article, Ian describes the other estates and wines from the region.
by Ian D’Agata

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Part 3 is the last in this admittedly huge three-part series of articles devoted to the new and recent releases of Alsace’s great wines. And at 25 estates and over 210 tasting notes of different wines, it is also the largest of the three. In all my articles, the domaines are usually listed in alphabetical order, but you will find a few estates this time around that should have been part of the first article in this series; the reason why they are included here is due to the late arrival to the samples of their wines. Once again, this article covers a plethora of Alsace wineries and wines in an in-depth manner that is not found in any other major English-language wine publication, and as always, the wines were not sponsored in any way, the trips to the wineries, lodgings and meals were all paid for by me, on my own dime, so to speak. That is the way I want it to be and your guarantee of impartiality, at least as much as it is humanly possible to be just so. I and everyone at the TerroirSense Wine Review are very proud of this. We are also very happy to be the best source for information on Alsace wine today and our pledge to you, our readers, my pledge actually, is that we will continue to deliver the best in Alsace wine reviews available anywhere. Producers, importers, restauranteurs, sommeliers, and all wine lovers can count on me and my team here. Much more on this fascinating region and its wines will be coming your way in the months to come; and you can begin by taking a gander at the short video I shot explaining Alsace and its wines that is airing in our “Video” section of the website. It was fun to do and it’s one of our educational videos that has received the biggest amount of positive feedback to date; as always, I seize the opportunity to thank-you all for your encouragement and support. So stay tuned for so much more on Alsace and its wines (and not just on Alsace, in fact!): same wine-time, same wine-channel!                                                                        

Albert Mann.

2019 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Alsace                                                     90

Medium straw yellow. Honey, apricot and grilled nuts on the sweetly spicy, even honeyed nose. Rich and fairly full in the mouth, with noteworthy flavour intensity to its honeyed white fruit elements. Closes with lively suggestion of nutmeg and lime. Drinking window: now-2025

2019 Muscat Alsace                                                                92

Pale, green-tinged yellow. Pretty, scented aromas of lime, honeysuckle, and mint; smells like crushed grapes and green apple jelly. This very juicy, classically dry Muscat wine boasts a lovely light touch and the trademark stylish purity of all Albert Mann wines. Hard to put the glass back down once you start sipping on this! Drinking window: now-2024

2019 Riesling Alsace                                                               89

Straw green with golden tinges. Flinty reduction and pristine aromas and flavours of white fruit and flowers linger nicely on the juicy finish. Easygoing and straightforward in its delivery of classic Riesling fruit. Very pure and clean as are all of the Albert Mann wines. Drinking window: now-2026.

2019 Gewurztraminer Alsace                                                       92

Good full bright yellow. Orange, spice and lemon zest dominate on the nose, while sweet spices take over the similar flavours in the mouth. Nicely suave and textured, with a creamy low-acid mouthfeel, but plenty of flavour on the long back end. Hard to do much better than this at the entry-level of any wine. So really well done. Drinking window: now-2024.

2018 Pinot Blanc Alsace                                                         92

Always one of my favourite wines from Albert Mann, this rare 100% Pinot Blanc offers remarkable complexity and multilayered aromas and flavours that are more elegant and brighter than those of the richer, spicier Pinot Blanc-Auxerrois blends available at most other estates. Liquid minerality and very pretty white flower nuances linger long on the refined finish. Drinking window: now-2025.

Albert Selz.

2019 Sylvaner de Mittelbergheim                                                92

Pale, straw-green colour. Pretty aromas and flavors of green apple, lime, mint and white flowers. Brisk and energetic, with good focus and precision to its varietally accurate flavours of apple, quince and chamomile. Very pure on the long, ripe aftertaste. Knockout wine that costs nothing considering its quality. Super stuff here. Seltz is an absolute master of the Sylvaner grape variety that he tends to make wine from in a richer creamier style than most; his vineyards in the Mittelbergheim area, not to mention the standout Zoztenberg grand cru, help him craft liquid masterpieces. Drinking window: now-2026.

2019 Pinot Gris Reserve                                                  91

Medium yellow. High-toned baked apple, spices and Mirabelle plums on the nose. Ripe, rich and intensely flavoured, with a creamy orange marmalade nuance to the ripe but fresh orchard fruit flavours present. The slightly high-toned character repeats on the finish, but this manages to stay bright from start to finish. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Sylvaner de Mittelbergheim                                                92

Good full straw yellow-green. Ripe apricot, yellow apple, nutmeg, and fresh herb aromas. A delicately spicy, piercing quality complements the intense orchard fruit flavours nicely lifted by lively acidity. There’s real density and structure here, not to mention subtle persistence. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Gewurztraminer Reserve                                             91

Bright yellow. Aromas and flavours of smoky tropical fruit, vanilla bean and creamy custard. Finishes with peppery spices and a sweet suave quality. More off-dry than dry. Drinking window: now-2025.


2017 Gwurztraminer Frankstein Grand Cru Alsace                        91

Brght yellow. Nuanced aromas of citrus peel, lichee and sweet spices, plus a floral undertone for added complexity. Broad and considerably fruity, with a hint of residual sugar giving this a pleasant balance and an invitingly creamy quality. Spicy and classic on the nicely fresh finish, this will prove a very food-friendly Gewurz: try it with Maroccan and Thai dishes. Drinking window: now-2026.

Leon Beyer.

2020 Sylvaner Alsace                                                       90+

One of my favourite wines from Leon Beyer, and an absolute steal for the money (this thing is so good and costs so little it’s almost immoral), the 2020 version is a dainty little gem that actually needs a little more time in the bottle to develop more size and nuance. Still fairly folded in on itself, with a bright mineral sheen to the jasmine, lemony and coriander notes that lurk down below its tight core of acid-driven fryuit, this will match well with asparagus, fresh-wateer fish dishes and shellfish of all kinds. One sip of this steely beauty coupled with the right dish and I swear you’ll be throwing all those overly-oaked, overly-alcoholic Chardoannay wines you’ve been valiantly, admirably even, just getting by with right out the window (where they belong). Drinking window: 2022-2026

2019 Sylvaner Alsace                                                       92

Sylvaner is one of the world’s most underrated grapes and wines, and Leon Beyer makes an excellent one. Fragrant, lovely and nicely sappy, with a pretty straw-green colour, this boasts juicy aromas and flavours of green apple, chamomile, lemons and minerals. The aftertaste is long vibrant and very clean, with welcome mineral and lime accents. Well done here! After skipping a couple of vintages, I am happy to see the Sylvaner wine is back in the fold of leon Beyer offerings, for it’s not just one of the best entry-level wines Leon Beyer makes, but it’s one of the best buys in all Alsace wine. To be clear, one that can actually give many over-cropped Riesling, Gewurz, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris wines a run for their money. Really knowledgeable wine lovers who know better than to fall prey to the “But this is Riesling! But this is Pinot Gris!!” hype and to throw their money away on insipid, dilute, sugary stuff such as that look for this pretty little Sylvaner any chance they get. And they also know that the majority of Sylvaner vines in Alsace are now quite old and give a complexity that wines made from many recent planted vineyards (of clonal selections no less) can only dream of (like their winemakers and their marketing people, in fact). Drinking window: now-2025.

2019 Riesling Réserve Alsace                                                89

Good straw-yellow colour. Fragrant citrus, jasmine, Mirabelle and flint on the nose. Lively and focused flavours similar to the aromas taper nicely on the long mineral and lemony aftertaste. This is very nice for an entry-level wine that showcases well what Alsace Riesling wines are all about. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Riesling Réserve Alsace                                                90

Light straw colour. Tangerine, orange, white flowers, Mirabelle and a hint of wax on the nose. Then fresh and juicy, with a repeating waxy note to the tangerine and lemon flavors. Finishes bright, flinty and saline. Medium acidity, medium length and medium intensity. Drinking window: now-2024

2018 Gewurztraminer Réserve Alsace                                        91

Bright golden-tinged yellow. Rose and tangerine oil dominate the spice-accented nose. Fresh and juicy but with a Gewurz-typical textured mouthfeel, with hints of smoked beef and cinnamon in the background, this very flavourful, ripe yet fresh Gewurztraminer wine is a great introduction to a variety that does so well in Alsace. Try this with roast poultry and a sweet chutney or jelly or veal with mushroom dishes and get ready to be amazed. Drinking window: now-2025.

2017 Muscat Réserve Personnelle Alsace                                    92

One of the less talked-about wines made at Leon Beyer but one that also never fails to disappoint. Less aromatic and in your face than many other Alsace Muscat wines with a more reticent quality to its expressivity (which some wine lovers like and others are disappointed by) but still offering plenty of lime, lemon verbena, cumin and green fig aromas and flavours, with hints of minty herbs and spices. A little more muted than usual in the hot 2017 vintage, but that will therefore appeal to all those who find the charms of Alsace Muscat wines (actually a blend of two Muscat varieties, Muscat Ottonel and Muscat Blanc or a Petits Grains) a bit too much to take at times. Try this with asparagus and artichoke dishes as well as anything involving salmon and citrus sauces/reductions and you’ll never look back. Drinking window: now-2024.

2017 Riesling Pfersigberg Grand Cru Les Écaillers Alsace                    93

Named after the écaillers, or the people who shuck oysters for a living (a clin d’oeil to the Beyer’s family, and Marc Beyer’s in particular, great love of gastronomy and wine and food pairing), this has always been one of the great classic dry Riesling wines of Alsace. Despite the hot 2017 vintage, this Les Écaillers bottling maintains its pale yellow colour, as well as the tension and energy it is much admired for, expressing lovely aromas and flavours of green apple, nectarine, minty herbs and powdered rocks. Closes long and with a bright lemony sheen. Drinking window: now-2029.

Charles Frey.

2018 Sylvaner Lieu-Dit Blettig Alsace                                         91

Brilliant straw-green. Aromas of lime, herbs, mint and anise. Fine, fresh and bone-dry, this easy-going but serious wine delivers strong material and good length. Nicely done here. Drinking window: now-2025

2018 Gewurztraminer Collines de Granit Alsace                             90

Lemon-yellow color. Pungent, varietally accurate aromas of clove, cinnamon, rose and cured meats. Nicely supple and lush, with the spicy smoked beef character nicely persisting on the close. Rather ripe acidity provides shape and neatly extends the flavours on the long creamy finish. Drinking window: Now-2025

2016 Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Alsace                          93

Bright golden-yellow colour. Exotic aromas of orange oil, tropical flowers, honey and sweet spices. Very sweet and rich, with noteworthy thrust and rising spice tones on the creamy, long finish. This has sound acidity so though sweet and rich it never comes across as cloying or over the top. Drinking window: now-2028.

Henry Fuchs.

2019 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Alsace                                              90

Good medium straw yellow. Subdued but clean aromas of apricot, orange and butter. Suave and fresh, with  flavours of butter and honey that rise nicely on the back end, showing an enticing hint of sweetness to the nicely persistent apricot and spice nuances. Drinking window: now-2025.


NV Crémant d’Alsace Extra Brut                                               89

Pale straw. Green apple and apricot on the nose and in the mouth. Has a pungent, vibrant quality on the long acid floral finish. Very clean but a little strict right now.  Drinking window: now-2024

NV Crémant d’Alsace Grande Cuvée Brut                                90

Medium dark yellow with a fine bead of bubbles, more persistent than in the Extra Brut. Creamy and dense, with a hint of sweetness to the ripe orchard and floral flavours. Nicely persistent on the bright suave finish. I think the slight sweetness helps this round out nicely. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Gris Vorbourg Grand Cru Alsace                                   91

Pale yellow-gold. Ripe nose hints at dried apricot and spices. Sweet, dense, ripe and long, with traces of ripe orchard fruit and honey but little phenolic character on the long close. Not the last word in complexity but nicely exotic and mouth-filling. Drinking window: 2022-2026.

2017 Gewurztraminer Vorbourg Grand Cru Alsace                        91

Bright yellow. Cinnamon and cardamom infuse the ripe tropical fruit aromas and flavours with a strong spicy character. Shows more size and richness, with ripe suggestions of mirabelle and marzipan. Closes chewy and honeyed, with good lift from its aromatic spice component. Drinking window: now-2025.


2019 Alsace Blanc                                                            89

A blend of Sylvaner, Auxerrois and Muscat d’Alsace, this is an easygoing, fresh floral white wine that will work splendidly as an aperitif or lighter fish and vegetable dishes. Neither the last word in concentration nor in complexity, but plenty of wine for the money here folks! Drinking window: now-2023.

2019 Sylvaner Trois Châteaux E Alsace                                     93

Pale straw-green. Aromas and flavours of green apple, quince, mienrals, thyme and chamomile boast a crystalline purity. There is a subtle hint of custard cream that emerges on the long flinty finish. Though no blockbuster (California Chardonnay lovers of oak and butter need to go look elsewhere), this is just an amazing wine that Kuentz-Bas nails every vintage, helped out by the extreme old age (seventy years and counting) of the vines. No trout or salmon should feel safe as long as this wine continues to be made. Drinking window: now-2030.

2018  Muscat Pfersigberg Grand Cru Trois Châteaux Alsace                     92

Vibrant straw-green colour. Mint, lime cordial, thyme and apple on the perfumed nose. Then broad and rich, with racy flavours that repeat the aromas on along sultry finish. This can be enjoyed now or aged in a good cellar. The Pfersigberg is a southeast-facing slope characterized by a mostly marly-limestone soil that allows for wiens of noteworthy ripeness, power, and elegance, as this wine showcases to full effect. Drinking window: now-2030.

2018 Muscat Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé Grand Cru Trois Châteaux Alsace       94

Vivid yellow-green. Custard cream, lime nectar, lemon ice, jasmione and green fig jam on the spicy and herbal nose. Then ripe, mineral and lemony flavours last and last on the brightly floral, powerful finish nicely extended by harmonious acidity. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop drinking this! Not to be confused with the Kirchberg de Barr, another grand cru altogether, the marly, limestone, and sandstone soils of Ribeauvillé’s Kirchberg deliver one of the greatest Muscat wines of all Alsace. This one by Kuentz-Bas is especially good: in fact, the 2018 is one of the best wines that thee state has made in some time. I think that Kuentz-Bas makes some of the most delicious Sylvaner wines around (whatever you do, don’t miss them!) but their Muscat wines are very underrated. This wine proves this to be very much a case in point. Winemaker Olivier Raffin has a great touch with both Sylvaner and Muscat varieties. Drinking wndow: now-2034.

Lucien Albrecht.

NV Crémant d’Alsace                                              91

Bright straw with a steady bead of small bubbles. The apple and apricot aromas and flvours have a bright floral nuance and are at once quite lively but also mature. Sneaky concentration here and above average complexity. Finishes long and creamy. Drinking window: now-2024.


NV Cremant D’Alsace Brut                                            90+

A blend of the three Pinot varieties, Auxerrois and Riesling from roughly twenty years old vines makes for an easygoing, approachable nicely creamy yet lifted floral and orchard fruit-dominated bubbly. Not especially long on the finish but very satisfying and denoting good complexity (this spent at least 18 months on the lees). The tight bead of fine bubbles is nicely persistent. Drinking window: now-2024.

2019 Sylvaner Steinstuck Alsace                                    93

Pale, green-tinged color. Pretty floral nose offers a bright lemony sheen, minerals and quince. Dense and minerally, with good lift to the spice and floral flavors. Nicely balanced (only 1.2 g/L r.s and a whopping 8.8 g/L total acidity), classically dry Sylvaner, that boasts plenty of flinty reduction and an uncanny Riesling-like quality. Another drop-dead gorgeous wine from Muré; the Steinstuck is an especially high-quality site that is quite stony and that stoniness is reflected in the wines made there. Drinking window: now-2o30.

2019 Muscat Steinstuck Alsace                                      93

Pale straw-green. Orange blossoms and lime dominate the nose and in the mouth. A note of orange marmelade and of mint provide lift and added complexity on the long, fresh, bright finish. This is lovely. The Steinstuck is a very gravelly and limestone lieu-dit of real quality (outstanding for Sylvaner too), these 55 year old vines make magic happen. This is a blend of 65% Muscat Ottonnel and 35% Muscat d’Alsace. Drinking window: now-2027.

2019 Sylvaner Cuvée Oscar Clos Saint-Landelin Alsace                         95

Golden pale yellow colour. Ripe orchard fruit and lemon verbena, plus butter, cream and honey dominate the nose and in the mouth. Hints of spicy orange marmalade, custard cream, and of baked cinnamon apple pie provide added complexity on the long, fresh, extremely suave rich finish. This is really a knockout! Boasting over 45 g./L r.s his is anything but a classically dry wine (the Cuvée Oscar never is: for instance, the 2005 had over 60 mg/L r.s.!), but is so magically balanced that you won’t find it as sweet as that number would lead one to think. Finsihes rich long and extremeluy compelx, this is just a knockout of a wine. The Clos Saint-Landelin is located on the southern portion of the grand cru Vorbourg at the exit of the valley and is characterized by an extremely complex soil (marl and limestone soil with stones over a bed of Middle Jurassic Bajocian calcreous sandstone and Oligocene calcareous conglomerate subsoil) that, coupled with the old age of some of the Sylvaner vines, allows for monumental Sylvaners to be made that ages extremely well. Don’t miss out on this and match it to roast fowl with mushrooms or grilled pork dishes with tropical fruit chutneys, not to mention any of the richer, sweeter dishes of Moroccan, Chinese and Thai cuisines you can think of, as well as strong cheeses such as an Epoisses. Drinking window: now-2038.

Domaine Neumeyer.

2017 Pinot Noir Schaefferstein Alsace                                         89

Deep red-ruby. Clean, vibrant aromas and flavours of red fruit and herbs, with a flinty note at the back. Ver silky and lively with good persistence. Not the most concentrated or fruity Pinot Noir wine you will ever drink, but nicely creamy and dense. Drinking window: now-2025.


2019 Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes Alsace                                    92

Farmed biodynamically the 55 years old Sylvaner vines (but that’s just an average: many of these vines are more than seventy years of age!) on mostly clay-sandstone soils with a bit of granite and limestone. The depth and complexity that Ostertag coaxes out of these vines is something to marvel at, and tis wine is almost always one of the biggest surprises of any tasting done at his winery. Bright straw-green, rich and complex on both the nose and in the mouth, with aromas and flavours of quince, white flowers, mint and minerals, this finishes very long with a repeating mineral quality and a hint of honey. Beautiful stuff. Drinking window: now-2028.

2019 Riesling Fronholz Alsace                                              91

Bright yellow-green. Aromas of lemon peel, clove and powdered stone. Then ripe but subdued, with a firm lemony acidity lifting the flavors of orchard fruit and minerals on the bright close. From vines planted on white sands and quartz (with clay deeper down), a very saline wine (typical of this site) that offers copious aromas of flowers and fresh fruit. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2019 Riesling Heissenberg Alsace                                                92+

Bright golden-tinged yellow. Complex of still closed  nose combines lime, ginger, and licorice. Dense, smooth and rich, with a strong flavor of pear, stones and herbs. Quite rich and persistent on the ripe finish. The Heissenberg is situated near the village of Nothalten and is characterized by a hot, full south exposure and a lack of wind, so that the Riesling wines that come from it are big and bold. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

2018 Gewurztraminer Fronholz Vendanges Tardives Alsace                94

Bright golden-yellow. Very fresh yet also very ripe aromas of pineapple, mango, honey and Asian spices (I should know, I live in China). Then very exotic in the mouth too, with super-sweet and powerful but lively flavors of grilled peaches, vanilla bean and lychee reduction. Conveys both a chewy sense of extract and an impression of great purity. Ostertag is really a master of the VT style of wine, even more so than the SGN. This family is so talenmted that wines at both sweetness levels are just dandy, but not too many out there can make VTs that rival Ostertag’s. Drinking window: now-2033.


NV Crémant d’Alsace Rosé Brut                                          88

Bright salmon pink colour. Simple red berry and herb aromas and flavours are lifted by good freshness and energy. Finishes medium-long and nicely creamy, if not especially complex. Will make an easygoing aperitif for uncomplicated drinking moments. Drinking window: now-2024.


2017 Riesling Berg Selection Parcellaire Alsace                                90

Pale yellow-gold color. Tangy tangerine marmalade, apricot, and a hint of spice, all lifted by a bright floral overlay. Concentrated if not (yet?) complex flavors of fruit cocktail, minerals and honey. Slightly edgy on the long aftertaste but this is very promising. Drinking window: 2023-2030.

2017 Riesling Buehl Selection Parcellaire Alsace                              93

Bright straw yellow-gold. Initially reticent, then opens with aeration to show aromas of yellow apple, mango and guava. Then both dense and spicy in the mouth, with a powerful, backward but very aromatic quality to its spice and flinty fruit flavours. A rather powerful style of riesling with an assertive character that finishes long and clean. The Buehl has a fairly steep slope (with as much as a 40% gradient) near the village of Bernardvillé, boasting a deeper soil than neighbouring sites (which coupled to the southern-facing exposure accounts for the Buehl’s very powerful wines) and a unique sub-soil on the only strip of blue schist in Alsace. Drinking window: now-2030.

2017 Riesling Fels Selection Parcellaire Alsace                                 92

Vivid straw-green. Aromatic nose of grapefruit, powdered rocks, lemon verbena, gin, and tonic water. Fresh and penetrating, with lively lime and mineral flavors and lovely subtle floral persistence. This stylish wine seems ready to drink today but will keep in a good cellar. Ideal with salmon. Drinking window: now-2028.

2016 Riesling Berg Selection Parcellaire Alsace                                       91

Medium straw yellow hue. Aromas of minerals, mirabelle, flowers and petrol. Densely packed and in a fruity style, but folded in on itself today, conveying a very dry impression on the persistent saline finish. Try it with both mild creamy and stronger cheeses, besides anything even vaguely associated with salmon. A lovely wine made from the only stip of schist in Alsace dating back to over 500 Million years ago. Drinking window: now-2030.

2016 Riesling Buehl Selection Parcellaire Alsace                                     91

Gold-tinged straw green colour. Superripe aromas of pineapple,crystallized lemon peel, Mirabelle and white truffle. Rich and suave but classically dry, with floral and citrus flavours that are powerful, broad and long. This should prove very flexible at the dinner table, working well with both fish and white meat dishes. The highly solar, south-facing site gives some of the more opulent, richer but always lovely wines in the Schieferkopf stable. Drinking window: now-2029.

2016 Riesling Fels Selection Parcellaire Alsace                                        92

Vibrant straw-green. Musky, nicely delineated aromas of lime, lemon, white flowers, and crushed rocks. Concentrated, dense and fairly full, but clearly not as exuberant or showy in the mouth as it is on the nose or as are the Buehl and Berg, the other two sites from where Shieferkopf makes Riesling wines from. Finishes very clean and floral, with noteworthy persistence and repeating mineral undertow. The Fels is a very small plot of Riesling vines (roughly 0.8 hectares) that gives some of the most minerally and refined wines in all the Schieferkopf portfolio. Drinking window: now-2032.


2019 Riesling Les Princes Abbés Alsace                                      91

Pale straw yellow color. Delicate aromas of nectarine and lime, plus a hint of white flowers and crushed stone in the background. Juicy but brisk, with lovely, easygoing fresh citrus fruit lifted by very bright acidity on the palate. A lively, lemony, but fruit-driven style of Riesling that isn’t likely to be the most complex or longest Riesling wine you’ll have ever tasted, but that offers quite the bang for the buck for an entry-level wine. Strikes me as one of the better Prince Abbé Rieslings in some time. Nicely done here. Drinking window: now-2026.

2017 Riesling Saering Grand Cru Alsace                                    93

Bright straw yellow. Subtle, reticent aromas hint at citrus skin, nectarine and white flowers, and have a strong mineral undertow. Then lively and penetrating, gingery and quite dry, with flavours similar to the aromas. A steely, uncompromising Riesling but nicely tactile on the back end boasting sneaky concentration. This may be a little unforthcoming presently, but it true to its grand cru site and I think it will develop splendidly, showcasing its underlying complexity in much better fashion than it is currently. Drinking window: 2025-2031.

2017 Riesling Kitterlé Grand Cru Alsace                                   92

Luminous medium yellow colour. Aromas of spice, apricot, yellow apple and honeysuckle. Riper and rounder than Schlumberger’s 2017 Riesling Saering, but also quite dense and nicely supple, with harmonious acids providing life to the tactile, soft sensation of extract. A broad, sizable but refined Riesling wine that is pliant and deep and will likely improve noticeably with a few years in the cellar, though thisn is readier to drink than the estate’s Saering Riesling from the same vintage. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

2017 Pinot Gris Spiegel Grand Cru Alsace                                 94

Now this is truly beautiful. Anyone who does not believe that Pinot Grfis/Pinot Grigio can give world class, complex white wines needs to taste this, a minerally, long truly gorgeous Pinot Gris wine. Straw-green with pale golden highlights. Deep, very pure and mineral aromas of green apple, unripe pear, hazelnut and tangerine. Classically dry, superbly focused and very dense, with ripe acids framing and extending the intense, enticing steely orchard and fresh citrus fruit flavours on the long back end. This offers much more character than the most Pinot Gris bottlings you’ll come across, and considerably greater finesse: it will also age very well. I’m not the world’s greatest fan of the Spiegel Grand Cru, which I have always found to be a little overrated in its merits and potential, but when it comes to Pinot Gris (and Muscat) wines, it’s certainly a grand cru all-right, as this beauty attests. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

2016 Gewurztraminer Kessler Grand Cru Alsace                                          93

Bright straw yellow with golden tinges. Sweet spice and tropical fruit aromas and flavours jump out of the glass at you but never come across as heavy-handed or over the top, but rather as restrained and refined. Finishes long and suave with excellent focus and definition. I reviewd this wien for the first time back in and have found it as good if not better than that time; it’s just one heck og a good Gewurtz, and really, planting anything else in the Kessler than Gewurztraminer (outside of Sylvaner) is really nothing but a huge shame. This grand cru was made for this variety, and outstanding wines like this one showcase this truth to full effect. Beautiful stuff here folks, and less exaggerated than many Gewurz wines can sometimes be. Drinking window: 2023-2031.


2019 Pinot Noir Alsace                                                           88

Pale red. Aromas and flavours of juicy fruity red berries and balsamic herbs. Finishes long with a syrupy blueberry note and herbal echoes. Easygoing little number with plenty of refreshing acidity to hang your taste buds on. A blend of grapes from deep south in Alsace’s wine route (Wihr au Val) and the north (Andlau); this is the only Pinot Noir made at Schoenheitz not to come into contact with oak of any kind, and I’d say it’s a mighty successful wine just made for uncomplicated, relaxed drinking times.

2018 Pinot Noir Saint-Gregoire Alsace                                       89

Medium-deep ruby. Enticing aromas of red and blue fruit, coupled with minty herbs and earth tones; very perfumed Pinot Noir wine. Balanced on entry, but then increasingly astringent and rustic, leaving behind a drying mouthfeel and a sense of greenness. Planted in the lowest middle part of the Herrenreben, which features a generally lighter soil than the rest of this site. Upon tasting this, I was left wondering if the hailstorm that it the area in April that year had done major damage (and to the wine too) but Adrian Schoenheitz told me that all the hail did was damage mostly the leaves rather than anything else; plus has it came but before the flowering had occurred, it really didn’t hurt much. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2019 Pinot Noir Herrenreben Alsace                                    90

Good full cherry-red. Spicy redcurrant and cherry aromas are lifted by a floral note. Then more fresh, juicy pure pinot flavors of red berries and spices. Neither too herbal nor fruity in character, this juicy midweight wine offers a clean, fresh mouthfeel and sneaky concentration on the vibrant, rather savory finish. These are 55 years old vines planted on a granite soil not unlike that of the Schlossberg. Frankly, Pinot Noir on granite is a taste you have to acquire, and I’m not sure I have, but this is undoubtedly a well-made wine with plenty to say. Aged in 20% new oak and one year old barriques (plus 2 months in tanks on the lees) for 14 months total. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

2019 Pinot Noir Linsenberg Alsace                                                    87

Dark ruby-red. Simple nose and a tough mouthfeel don’t make for an especially enjoyable time presently.  I’d say we need to come back to this in a few years and see what’s going on. Made from 15 year old vines that will probably benefit from further age. Drinking window: 2023-2026.

2016 Crémant Brut Classique                                                      88

Pale straw colour with golden highlights. Open-knit aromas and flavours of orchard fruit and sweet herbs, but ultimately this is a little simple and coarse. The medium-long finish features a return of perfumed flowers. A 100% Auxerrois that spent 2.5 years on the lees. Drinking window: now-2025.

2014    Crémant Extra Brut Mémoire de Granit Alsace                            90

Bright straw colour. Creamy, expressive aromas and flavours of peach, apple and pear, complemented by herbal and stony nuances on a medium-long finish. This spent 4.5 years on the lees, and is a great deal more complex than the 2106 Cremant Brut Classique from this winery. Drinking window: 2023-2027.

2012    Crémant Nature Brut Alsace                                                            92

Now this is very, very good. Vibrant starw colour. Compelx, deep aromas and flavors of stone fruit and tangerine, plus strokes of minerals, sandalwood, quince and quinine just for good measure. Brght and focused on entry, in the middle and on the long finish, this is an excellent Crémant indeed. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2018      Muscat Alsace                                                    92  

Limpid straw-green. Nicely perfumed minty nose, boasting aromas of fresh field flowers, chamomile, tangerine and lime. Then similar flavours to the aromas, with very good juiciness and spicy lift on the bright delicate finish. I especially liked this wine’s balance: 4.6 g/L residual sugar and 4.33 g/L total acidity. The grapes for this wine come from their many parcels spread all over the area of Wihr, in the Holder, between the Herrenreben and the Holder and the the Herrenreben itself, so it’s all granite soils mostly, explaining the wine’s spicy broad attack and the tapering acid finish. Drinking window: now-2027.

2019 Alsace Sec                                                         90

Vibrant pale green-yellow. Spicy, lemony and minerally lift on the nose and very good drag on the mouth to the orchard fruit and spice flavours. This is another very well-balanced wine from Schoenheitz (6.55 g/L resuidual sugar and 5.66 g/L total acidity). Crunchy, clean and fresh on the very juicy long finish. A 50% Sylvaner, 30% Muscat and 20% Chasselas blend that harkens back to the days of Edelzwicker but this is so much better, deeper and more complex of those old tavern wines. The Sylvaner and Muscat come from the area of Walbach, while the Chasselas is from the Herrenreben (all three boast roughly 50 years old vines, so this makes for more than just a little interesting wine), but the grapes were harvested all more or less together (Adrian says that in his area these three varieties ripen at the same time and have the same thickness of skin so they can be picked together without problem).  Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Blanc Val Saint Grégoire Alsace                                      91

Bright straw yellow with golden tinges. Honey and earthtones complement the ripe apple and pear fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Boasts 5.77 g/L resuidual sugar and 4.42 g/L total acidity and along ripe mouthfeel. Practically 100% Auxerrois culled from two plots planted between 1976 and 1980 facing full south at mid to low altitudes on rich soils with more clay than most in the immediate area. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Riesling Alsace                                                               92

Clean, fresh, long, lemony and mineral on the bright finish. This leaves you salivating (3.13 g/L residual sugar and a not low 6.87 g/L total acidity) but still showcases pretty good balance overall. These grapes were picked  from the western part of the Linsenberg, which is set deeper in the valley and has steeper slopes so it’s quite the different terroir from that of the regular Linsenberg. Drinking window: 2023-2026.

2018 Riesling Linsenberg Alsace                                    93

This is really pretty good! Bright straw colour. Strikes me as being less mineral than the 2017 from the same site, but I like its smooth delivery of chamomile, candied lemon peel, apple pie and banana bread aromas and flavours. Maybe not quite the last word in complexity and really fairly ripe as this is a warm site, but still it has lovely balance (the numbers bear this out: 6.89 g/L residual sugar and 7.31g/L total acidity). Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2019 Riesling Herrenreben Alsace                                        94

Good full pale green. Captivating aromas of green papaya, kiwi, lime minerals and white flowers. Then very clean and fresh white peach and juicy floral flavours, offering a lovely lemon verbena nuance that lingers nicely on the bright finish. Clocks in at 5.28 g/L residual sugar and 7.65 g/L total acidity, and really tastes of its mountain-like climate. A real success, this is much sharper and tauter than the 2019 Riesling Linsenberg, but the two wines are so different that each will have its fans. Drinking window: 2023-2031.

2018 Riesling Holder Alsace                                                  93

Pale, bright yellow. Fruit- and herb-driven nose featuring lime, lime skin and anise notes. Supple in texture but with penetrating limey acidity giving the herbal and fruit flavours a boost. The aftertaste is nicely persistent and very clean, featuring plenty of herbs (fennel, especially), minerals and a chewy nature. Despite it’s almost 10 g/L residual sugar (9.79 g/L, to be exact) it tastes classically dry thanks to the 6.52 g/L total acidity and relatively low pH. A lovely wine, this is round and long and will prove perfect with cheeses and spicy curries. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2018 Pinot Gris Alsace                                                    91

Bright straw-yellow. Aromas of honey, spice and herbs, this is slightly sweet, chewy and ripe. At 13.2 g/L residual sugar and 5.83 g/L total acidity, this tastes slightly off-dry but has good balance and its lovely cut helps it finish drier than its residual sugar would suggest. This was made with grapes bought from the Robert Roth winery, family friends; it is not sold in France, just abroad, and I am told it does well in Michigan. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Gris Val Saint Grégoire Alsace                                 91

Medium-deep straw yellow. Aromas of baked apple and pear. Ripe and round, this is juicy and long, offering nicely ripe orchard fruit and herbal nuances. Starts off sweet, then finishes dry (6.97 g/L residual sugar and 5.11 g/L total acidity) with orange peel and jelly flavours that are nicely persistent. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Tokade                                                                     88+

Bright straw with golden tinges. Aromas and flavours of caramelized apples, maple syrup, fresh lime and flowers. Has 4 g/L residual sugar and 4.30 g/L total acidity, and finishes with very good tannic, downright mouthcoating bite. In my experience, with a little cellaring this smoothens over nicely. Made with grapes from the Linsenberg, this is barrel fermented and aged in oak. Drinking window: 2023-2027.

2018 Pinot Gris Herrenreben Alsace                                    88

Bright straw yellow. Candied aromas of orange peel, toffee, butter, caramelized pear and spices. Lively wine that offers spicy flavours of apple puree and pear, but surprisingly, tis is just a little bitter on the finish despite a seemingly whopping 42.29 g/L residual sugar and 5.81g/L total acidity. I point out to readers that this vintage of this wine has much more sugar than usual (normally, the residual sugar is more around 25 g/L). Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2018 Pinot Gris Holder Alsace                                             92

Medium-dark yellow. Aromas and flavours of baled apple and toffee, with alimony minral and pepper nuance buffered by hints of chamomile. At 40.27 g/L residual sugar and 5.66 g/L total acidity, this is another 2018 Pinot Gris wine from Schoenheitz that has much more sugar than usual (this wine normally hovers at around 30 g/L r.s.) but is none the worse for wear, drinking lively and soft and not at all cooked or heavy. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2018      Audace                                                         90

Medium yellow. Slightly exotic aromas of soft citrus fruits, honey and spices, but nicely restrained nonetheless. Round, rich and tactile, with well integrated acidity and a fairly big mouthfeel. Closes downright salty and long, this was aged in 20%mulberry and 80% acacia oak (he started using mulberry wood a few years ago to soften the potentially green streaks delivered by the acacia, and the two types of wood are fairly complementary so they work well together as barrel-making material). Drinking window: 2023-2026.

2019 Gewurztraminer Alsace                                         89                                     

Good full yellow. Very pungent floral notes at first whiff, then ripe citrus and tropical fruit. The same profile repeats in the mouth, with flavours that are similar to the aromas. There’s very good juiciness and precision to this lovely wine that is at once perfumed and structured. Closes ripe, long and suave, with good repeating floral lift. This is usually always made with grapes from the Linsenberg (that’s the source of the floral note) and young vines from Holder (which gives the structure). An off-dry rather than classically dry wine (26.8 g/L residual sugar and 4.12 g/L total acidity), but lovers of Gewurz will adore this. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2018 Gewurztraminer Holder Alsace                                                 90+

Pale yellow-gold. Expressive aromas of rose oil, cinnamon and cumin. Sweet, rich and concentrated, with a luscious core of spicy yellow fruits complicated by an element of smoked meat. A very big, long, rich dense wine that doesn’t currently offer much in the way of complexity but I feel there’s good potential here. The long, sweet finish (38.2 g/L residual sugar and 3.5 g/L total acidity) is nicely persistent and suave. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2018 Gewurztraminer Holder Vendanges Tardives Alsace                           94

Luminous pale golden yellow. Spicy aromas of tropical fruit, honey and grilled bacon. Rich and sweet on the palate, with a rather glyceral texture to the flavours of apricot, tangerine and spice. Smooth and shapely wine with a lingering, smooth aftertaste that features repeating nuances of smoked meat, ripe tropical fruit and honey. Very beautiful and long, this was made with grapes picked later than usual (at the end of October while they are usually picked two weeks before that) but only those grapes that grow closer to the forest in a more humid area that allows for noble rot to develop (about 50-60% of the grapes were hit by noble rot).  This is a real wowser of a wine and it piques interest even further as it is the first Gewurztraminer VT made at Schoenheitz since the 2009 vintage. Drinking window: 2023-2032.


2018 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Vieilles Vignes Alsace                                  90

Bright straw-green. Very clean and fresh aromas and flavours of orchard fruit, honey, spices and herbs. Very good in the mouth, with a dainty, lovely nice finish that is nicely persistent for a wine at this price level. By no means a blockbuster, but well-balanced (3.8 g/L r.s. and 4.4 g/L total acidity) and flavourful, this offers an easygoing mouthful of white wine. This 80% Auxerrois and 20% Pinot Blanc blend is made with grapes grown in the high quality lieu-dit called Haarth that never delivers grapes with high acidity, and yet the specific terroir, the result of the combination of grape variety, old vines, and soil really work to good effect. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Chasselas Vieilles Vignes Alsace                                                91

Vivid straw green. Perfumed, approachable aromas and flavours of floral stone fruit and herbs. Lovely, fragrant, floral, and long, this strikes me as not just very well balanced, but also one of the better Chasselas wines Schoffitt has made in some time (their Chasselas wines are always amongst the best if not the best in Alsace, and this 2018 seems especially good) with above average freshness (2.1 g/L r.s. but a whopping 7 g/L total acidity). Usually harvested around September 15, this is a co-plantation of very old vine pink and white Chasselas (planted before World War II, so these vines are roughly 80 years old!). There’s a lot of reasons that explain this wine’s complexity and depth, and Schoffit does well to have saved these old vines of a variety that may not be sexy nowadays but that delivers really fragrant fun wines. This is a beauty, and at this price point, a work of art. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Sylvaner Tradition Alsace                                                   92

Vibrant straw-green. Aromas and flavours of minerals, quince, green apple, apricot and mint. Lovely freshness but also good density, with repeating yellow orchard fruit nuances on the bright finish. Clean and fresh with vibrant acidity on the close, lifting and nicely framing the sweet orchard fruit. Well done; I think Schoffit has a real talent with this variety and I wish they made more of this wine, which is unfortunately available only in paltry volumes. Ideal with oysters and asparagus dishes. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Muscat Traditon Alsace                                                92

Straw green. An initial slightly vegetal note blows off to show bright, minerally fresh apple and spices with a buttery nuance both on the nose and in the mouth. Mostly Muscat d’Alsace (and you can tell), this has just a hint of residual sweetness (4.8 g/L r.s.) but enough lively acidity (4.8 g/L) to taste classically dry.  Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Gris Tradition Alsace                                                        92

Straw-yellow with golden highlights. Delicately musky aromas of smoke and yellow fruits. Then slightly sweet, round and silky in the mouth, but with very good clarity and cut. Finishes with excellent length. Considering its entry-level status, this is a very serious, very good Pinot Gris wine indeed. Well done here. Made with grapes from the Haarth lieu-dit, a mostly sandy-gravelly site that delivers Pinot gris wines of good backbone depite their never being acid-monsters. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Riesling Tradition Alsace                                                     92

Bright straw yellow. Clean, precise aromas of spring flowers, lime and minerals. Then just as limey and brisk in the mouth, with a piercingly juicy quality and noteworthy flavor authority to its notes of peach and pear. Already very nice now, this tastes classically dry (0.7 g/L r.s. and 5.5g/L total acidity) and finishes long leaving behind a tactile impression of dusty stones. Drinking window: now-2027.

2018 Riesling Harth Vieilles Vignes                                             91+

Vivid straw yellow. Aromas of lemon ice and white flowers, along with a whiff of grapefruit. Firm, fresh and precise, lemony but not at all hard, and finishes with good persistence and impeccable balance (1.8 g/L r.s. and 5.2 g/L total acidity). Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Riesling Sommerberg Alsace                                                      92

Medium dark bright yellow. Very large, broad and spicy on the nose that is very typical for this grand cru’s granite soils. Then peach nectar and apricot flavours, with a good fresh juicy mouthfeel lasting nicely on the close (5.6 g/L r.s. and 6.6 g/L total acidity) that features a strong note of juicy, fresh pear. Lovely wine, but unfortunately only 600 bottles made. Drinking window: 2023-2031.

2018 Riesling Rangen Clos St.Théobald Alsace                                       93

Deeper golden-tinged yellow color than most of the other dry wines tasted at Schoffit this year. Spicy fresh aromas of yellow fruit, honey and smoke. Enters broad and large-scaled, then a little diffuse in the middle, tapering again nicely on the lingering finish. Large-scaled orchard fruit flavors leave an impression of fatness and breadth. The 5.5 g/L total acidity keep this lively though, nicely buffered by the 3.5 g/L r.s. Drinking window: 2023-2032.

2018 Pinot Gris Rangen Clos St.Théobald Alsace                                    94

Medium deep yellow. Yellow apple, pear and peach aromas and flavours are complemented by hints of honey and spices. Rich, ripe and broad but with good sugar-acid balance (5.8 g/L r.s. and 4.3 g/L total acidity) .This is very rich and ripe but has a knockout tactile clean and long finish. Will pair really well with chicken and mushrooms. Drinking window: 2023-2031.

2018 Pinot Gris Clos St.Théobald Vendanges Tardives Alsace                            95

Medium deep luminous yellow. Tangy aromas of crystallized stone fruits and quince jam, even hints of kiwi and strawberry. Very rich and sweet in the mouth but not viscous, with a fresh, clean mouthfeel and noteworthy lift to the ripe peach, apricot and pear flavours. The long multilayered finish is very impressive: this is a real knockout, and with 92 g/L r.s. and 4.3 g/L total acidity also impeccably balanced. Made with grapes that were about half at Vendanges Tardives level of concentration and the other half at SGN. Wow. Drinking window: 2023-2032.

2018 Gewurztraminer Haarth Cuvée Caroline Alsace                                   93

Bright yellow. Strong notes of smoked bacon and grilled ham on the nose and in the mouth, pushing the ripe yellow tropical fruit somewhat in the background.  Well-balanced though certainly not classically dry (38 g/L r.s. and about 5 g/L total acidity) on the medium-long finish, and its smoky meaty notes may not be too everyone’s liking either. Drinking window: now-2030.

2018 Gewurztraminer Rangen Clos St Théobald Vendanges Tardives Alsace                94

Vivid yellow. Fresh, ripe, resiny nose hints at mango and grapefruit accented by cinnamon and cumin. Fat, dense and spicy, showcasing glyceral smoothness in the mouth, and lovely expressivity. Very good material here, closing nicely concentrated and long. At 88 g/L r.s and 3.5 g/L total acidity this is clearly of a Vendanges Tardives level of sweetness, but the balance here is such that this does not taste downright sticky sweet. Try it with roast turkey, yams and cranberry jelly. Drinking window: 2023-2032.


2018 Muscat Shenkenberg Alsace                                                       90

Pale green-tinged yellow. Mildly aromatic nose combines lime oil and spearmint, with hints of slightly balsamic oils and candied fruits. Juicy, spicy and classically dry but with an undercurrent of balsamic sweetness that is especially evident on the finish, with decent cut to the flavors of lime, spices and fresh herbs. Closes round, clean and persistent, this probably is best with food so that candied balsamic quality (that may not be for everyone) is pushed into the background. A blend of Muscat Ottonnel and Muscat d’Alsace (the exact percentage of each will vary each vintage depending on the yields of each one). Drinking window: 2022-2025.

2018 Pinot Blanc Coteaux d’Obernai                                          91

Pale yellow colour. White peach and acacia flowers on the pure, lively nose. Juicy and just off-dry, with good cut and clarity to its flavours of green apple, nectarine and minty herbs. Not especially complex but delicious, this clearly speaks of Pinot Blanc rather than Auxerrois and is that much fresher and more focused because of it (aroma and flavour-wise, Auxerrois is not the most refined wine grape in the world). This rare 100% Pinot Blanc wine will make a lovely aperitif. now-2025.

2018 Pinot Noir Rouge d’Obernai                                               88

Moderately deep medium red. Aromas of dark cherry, plum, herbs and flint. Fresh and nervous in texture, with intriguing flavors of blueberry, dark cherry, graphite and herbs. Though not the most fruit-forward Pinot Noir wine you will ever drink, this is a well-made, solidly built and intriguing, closing with firm tannins and good juicy length. 2022-2025.

2017 Pinot Gris Shenkenberg                                                92

Good full yellow colour. Ripe, varietally accurate aromas of yellow peach and butter, plus suggestions of dried fruits, honey and sweet spices. Smooth, sweet and fat but still quite young, with flavours similar to the aromas, there’s an air-dried quality to this but Hugo Seilly tells me there was in fact no late harvest fruit used to make this wine, as there was a late harvest wine released that year instead. Finishes round and luscious but with good harmonious acid lift, with good mineral grip and a slight hint of residual sweetness nonetheless. A lovely Alsace Pinot Gris and by far the best wine I tasted from Seilly this year. I really look forward to trying the rest of this estate’s range in the coming months and will provide more insight on those wines too. 2022-2028.


2019 Gewurztraminer Beblenheim Alsace                                         92

Bright yellow. Enticing aromas of exotic yellow fruits, smoke and spices. Sweet, ripe and rich, maybe not especially complex but dense and very pure, with flavours of yellow fruits, honey and cured beef. Finishes fairly firm, long and clean, not to mention classically dry. Andrée, wife of Jean-Louis, is of Alsatian origin and so roughly 20 years ago decided to get back to her roots and now the family makes outstanding Alsatian wine as well, besides the outstanding Burgundies the Trapet name is justly famous for all over the world. The wines are dry in style, and use of SO2 and oak is limited to the utmost. I still remember when I fist visited the domaine many years ago and it was still basically getting set up, and having to walk carefully around the place without tripping over anything. Already then the wines were great, and they have only gotten better. Drinking window: now-2029.

2018 Riesling Beblenheim Alsace                                                 92

Very pale golden-tinged yellow. Aromas of crystallized lemon peel, ginger and quinine, plus a topnote of jasmine and lemon verbena. Juicy, lemony and with more shape and definition than a villages wine normally has, this laid-back Riesling wine showcases a hint of petrolly minerality and of underripe pineapple on the long finish. Very good grip here. These Riesling vines are planted on the Burgraben and the Hagenschlauf, both characterized by essentially chalky soils that really allow the Rielsing to unleash its full array of floral and fresh citrus notes. Drinking window: now-2030 on the Burgraben (castle vine) and the Hagenschlauf, two chalky soils that give the young Rieslings their pretty floral lemony notes. Drinking window: now-2030.


2018 Sylvaner Alsace                                                92

The power of “little” wines. Trimbach is associated with some of the world’s greatest Riesling wines, and hardly with Sylvaner, and yet the talent level at this family estate is such that their Sylvaner wines are always a thing of beauty, and given their liow price tag, absolute steals. I should know, for last year at the winery I was fortunate and honoured to taste a rather wondrous 1976 Sylvaner that had been resting long term in the family cellar but that seemed like it had been bottled only five or six years earlier (served blind, I recognized it as a Sylvaner and that it was about thirty years old (I thought it was the 1983 or 1988), but not that it was 44 years old and from a fantastic but hot vintage like 1976!). The Trimbach 2018 Sylvaner Alsace will likely not turn out quite at that level, but it is just pure joy too. Lively straw green colour. Green apple, coriander and mineral nuances on the fresh nose. Then rounder in the mouth than is usual for this wine, with flavours of ripe yellow fruit and quince nicely complemented by hints of thyme, chamomile and powdered rocks. Made with the grapes picked in five different plots, but Pierre and jean Trimbach told me their goal is to one day bottle a Sylvaner wine sporting the name of a specific lieu-dit. Can’t wait! Drinking window: 2022-2029.

2018      Pinot Blanc Alsace                                                    90

Brght straw yellow with green tinges. Fresh aromas of citrus peel and white flowers show excellent lift but are somewhat dominated by the honey and spice of the Auxerrois, the presence of which is very obvious on the nose. Classically dry and juicy, with just a hint of Auxerrois-derived glyceral sweetness that goes nicely with the wine’s bright lively texture. Finishes ripe and clean, with flavours of soft citrus fruit and lichee echoing nicely on the aftertaste. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Noir Alsace                                                    88

Bright ruby-red. Uncomplicated aromas and flavours of red berries and smoke. Simple fruity easygoing red that is vry approachable now and will make a splendid match for burgers and pizza. I’d chill it lightly too. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Pinot Noir Cuvée Sept                                                   90

Good full ruby.Aromas and flavours of red and dark berries, flint and herbs. Juicy and fruity just like Trimbach’s entry-level 2018 Pinot Noir, but clearly boasting greater depth and size. This tasty, fresh Pinot Noir wine showcases light tannins but finishes firm and persistent, with no shortage of grip. Drinking window: 2022-2026.

2018 Riesling Alsace                                                        90

Pale, bright yellow. Fruit salad and fresh citrus fruit on the simple, bright minerally nose. Then tighter in the mouth, with very good cut to the lemon and lime flavours and hinting at very good depth for an entry level wine. Finishes with a tannic impression and an element of fresh herbs. Drinking window: now-2025.

2018 Riesling Reserve Alsace                                                91+

Bright, pale yellow with green highlights. Reticent but pure aromas of peach, pineapple rock candy and spices. Deeper than the entry-level 2018 Riesling from Trimbach, and with greater fruit presence elaving an impression of suppleness, but with lovely harmonious acidity giving the wine excellent inner-mouth energy and penetration. Classically dry Riesling wine, with impressive intensity for a wine at this price level. Drinking window: now-2027.

2018 Riesling Sélection de Vieilles Vignes Alsace                              93

Good pale yellow colour. Forward aromas of pineapple, lemon cream and flowers, plus a chamomile and thyme topnote. Juicy and dry, with outstanding sugar/acid balance and a creamy lemon tart aspect that is beguiling. A lush but precise wine that is still folded onto itself but that conveys a strong impression of extract. Finishes with a solid mineral spine and repeating nuances of sweet herbs and balsamic oils. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

2018 Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru Alsace                            94

Pale bright yellow. Very pretty, delicate aromas aromas of lemon, anise, stone, and white flowers. An extremely dainty Schlossberg offers very good volume without weight and an impression of strong dry extract while spreading oput horizontally on the palate. The aromatic, long finish features repeating notes of flowers and herbs, with the flavours of fresh citrus fruit rising on the taut, clean aftertaste. A beautiful Schlossberg from Trimbach. Drinking window: 2023-2031.

2018 Riesling Brand Grand Cru Alsace                                      94+

Medium-deep yellow, this is deeper than most of the other cru wines I tasted from Trimbach in the ’18 vintage. Sexy, nuanced nose combines ripe citrus fruits, minerals and sweet spices, all lifted by a jasmine topnote. Juicy, intense and precise, with very good cut and verve to the flavors of citrus tropical fruit, white peach and flowers. Though already delicious, this is still a very young grand cru Riesling wine that needs time to develop fully, so I’d forget about this in your cellar for the next six years or so. The Trimbachs own plots in different portions of the Brand such as the Shickenberg (or Scheneckelsberg, use the name you like best; granite and limestony-clay, but as the vines are very young, planted only in 2017, they do not yet use these to make their Brand wine) and the Oberrer Eichberg (Eichberg du Haut); it is from these that they choose to make the Brand wine with. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

2018 Riesling Mandelberg Grand Cru Alsace                                   94

Bright straw-green with golden tinges. Gingery spice and lemon verbena on the nose, with an undercurrent of chamomile and balsamic oils. Ripe and sappy flavors of lime and spices have a floral accent to the long, juicy back end. At once rich and lively, but also gentle and well-balanced on the aftertaste, this should gain in complexity with a few years of bottle aging and strikes me as a very good Mandelberg. As my readers know because I have written before, “Mandelberg” means the “hill of the almonds or almond trees”, an apt name, for this is one of the warmer vineyard sites in Alsace (and along with the Sonnenglanz and the Froehn, only one of three grand crus not up on the Vosges slopes) where almond trees (not the most weather-hardy of trees) actually can and do grow. The Trimbachs farm thirteen plots in the Mandelberg and made their first vintage from this cru only in 2013. For readers who still have or can find a bottle, and in spite of the vintage’s so-so reputation, the 2016 Trimbach Mandelberg is a thing of beauty.  Drinking window: 2023-2030.

2018 Riesling Geisberg Grand Cru Alsace                                        93+

Good full yellow-green. Very spicy and forward on the nose, with aromas and flavours of yellow apple, licorice and fennel. Then also very large and broad in the mouth too, with a slightly tannic undertone nicely framing the ripe orchard fruit and herb flavours. Closes long and big, with a repeating note of licorice. This is very Geisberg and needs time to open fully (this is why they usually release it later than their Schlossberg Riesling wine, for example). The Trimbach family now owns or farms roughly 30% of the Geisberg: the western holdings are those of the Couvet, while those in the eastern section are used to make the Cuvée Fréderic Emile. In fact, the soil changes in the Geisberg from top to bottom too, so depending on where an estate’s vineyard plots are, there can be at least three, and more likely four or five, different Geisberg Rieslings that could be made. Trimbach themselves will sometimes make a wine from one section only, so this is potentially one of their more fascinating wines each year, and that’s even without taking into account the extremely high quality of the Geisberg, one of Alsace’s most famous and best Riesling grand crus. Drinking window: 2025-2032.

2018 Riesling Cuvée Fréderic Emile Alsace                                96

Beautifull straw-green, clear color. Penetrating, complex and very lively aromas of fresh citrus fruit, white peach, quinine, mint, jasmine, plus a hint of white truffle. Then richer and rounder in the mouth, with a dense and exhilarating texture and lime and mineral flavors that really spread out over the palate. Wonderfully pure and stony Riesling wine, but still a baby, so arm yourself with patience (which won’t be hard to do because this beauty isn’t coming out for sale for another five years or so). While this is still a little folded onto itself, the 2018 is my kind of FE, when the wine’s freshness is front and square thanks to a greater proportion of the Osterberg grand cru in the blend that adds a lovely citrussy note, along with precision and length. At the same time, the warm year provides a rounder Geisberg-like taste. Though maybe not quite at the level of the all-time great FEs, this is still an oustanding Fréderic Emile Riesling, so grab all you can. Drinking window: 2025-2036.

2018 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune Alsace                                     98

Luminous straw-green colour. Candied citrus peel, apple, jasmine, minerals and a suggestion of exotic fruits on the vibrant, very deep nose. Then wonderfully pure in the mouth, with compelling flavors of sweet orchard fruit, a touch of pineapple, minerals and candied violet. Extremely layered and complex, this rich suave but very light on its feet wine conveys a chewy impression of extract, with its crushed stone component and lively, penetrating acidity giving the long, extremely focused finish superb grip and breadth. This is really outstanding, a real step up in concentration and depth from all the other Riesling wines I tried this year (and not just at Trimbach). Off the top of my head, I cannot remember a recent vintage in which the Clos Ste.Hune is so obviously greater than all the other Riesling wines in the Trimbach portfolio (and everyone else’s for that matter), something that tells you all you need to know about the level of Trimbach’s wines in general. It’s not that the other Rieslings aren’t just as great as usual in 2018, it’s that in this vintage the Clos Ste. Hune shines like only it can: for example, I have rarely witnessed as much a quality divide between the CSH and the Fréderic Emile (and the 2018 is an outstanding wine) as there is in this vintage. You might say that in 2018 Clos Ste.Hune must have decided to show everyone who’s the boss! Organically farmed since 2008, this is one of the world’s greatest and most famous classically dry white wines, and for most wine lovers or those in the know, the world’s best dry Riesling wine. The 2018 won’t go on sale most likely for another three years or so. Drinking window: 2025-2038.

2018 Pinot Gris Alsace                                                    92

Good medium yellow. Slightly smoky, very fresh aromas of dried fruits, acacia flower and white truffle. Then dense and very lively in the mouth with some almost Pinot Grigio-like notes, boasting excellent framing acidity lifting the classic varietal flavors of yellow apple, pear, apricot, smoke and herbs. Finishes nicely taut, intense and persistent, with noteworthy precision. Considering this is an entry-level wine, it’s just excellent: there’s a lot of wine for the money here. Extremely food-friendly, this will make an outstanding “wine by the glass” number in restaurants. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Pinot Gris Reserve Personnelle Alsace                                      93

Medium dark straw yellow hue. Ripe aromas of dried yellow fruits, spices, buttered toast, smoke and minerals. Broad, suave and classically dry, with lovely inner-mouth perfume and impeccable acid-sugar balance. The long finish is firm, dry and features a hint of marzipan. This is really outstanding, but most likely won’t go on sale until 2022. Made with grapes picked from various plots in the Osterberg, Kirchberg and Altenberg de Bergheim grand crus as well as a bunch of lieux dits. Drinking window: 2023-200.

2018 Gewurztraminer Classique Alsace                                            91

Now this is very pretty! Not too tropical at all, but rather restrained with easygoing, clean, fresh, gently spicy aromas and flavours of orchard fruit and sweet herbs, plus a touch of balsamic oils. Closes bright, with lingering gingery and lychee echoes. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre Alsace                  94

Bright straw-yellow. Very sexy, very pure and very nuanced aromas of mango, guava, lychee, spiced meats and clove. Broad, spicy and clean with orchard and tropical fruit flavours that are both rich and horizontal, yet very light on their feet, boasting terrific definition and subtlety. The long aftertaste is suave and energetic and really showcases what a great, well-balanced Gewurz wine has to offer. An outstanding vintage for this bottling. Drinking window: 2023-2030.

2018  Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Alsace                              95

Pale yellow-gold. Vibrant nose of candied pineapple, lemon and vanilla custard cream. The fruit here boasts great penetration and intensity, and a very pure, very fresh character, offering an exhilarating combination of relatively high sugars (75 g/L r.s.) and Gewurztraminer-like plumpness but that stays almost magically light on its feet from start to finish thanks to wonderful cut. A delightfully racy wine, just this side of glyceral, with repeating notes of lemon ice on the sultry, never-ending finish. It’s wines like this one that tell you Gewurz had a real good time in this vintage, and at the VT and SGN levels the fun really never stops in 2018. Make no mistake about it, this is one of the best Gewurz VT wines from Trimbach in some time. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

2018 Gewurztraminer Sélection des Grains Nobles Alsace                            96

Pale, vibrant golden-tinged yellow. Very pure, high-pitched aromas of musk, ginger, quinine and tropical fruit, with a suggestion of smoked meats in the background. Moderately glyceral but not at all heavy, this showcases impeccable acid-sugar balance and a relatively firm structure, not to mention noteworthy purity and vivacity. The sexy pineapple, pear and spice flavours are downright explosive and speak more of passerillage than they do of noble rot (though Pierre and Julien told me about 30% of the grapes were hit by the noble fungus after all), boasting a juicy quality and terrific flavour definition on the long back end. Harvested relatively early (in mid-October) for a true SGN, but requiring more passes (tries) among the vines, this utterly beautiful wine was the result of a very long harvest (lasting almost two months). Drinking window: 2024-2033.

2018 Riesling Sélection des Grains Nobles Alsace                             97

Vivid gold-tinged yellow. Fresh apricot, tangy tropical fruits, minerals, and a whiff of lime jelly on the captivating nose, not to mention a hint of pungent nail varnish that clearly speak of marmelady botrytis. Glyceral, chewy and wonderfully pure, with great intensity to the utterly seamless flavours of sweet orchard fruits, spices, marzipan and honey; piercing floral and mineral qualities keep this fresh and lively on the palate. A superb expression of a noble rot-affected wine, finishing with saline tones and lingering, captivating purity and sweetness. This wine has much more of a noble rot quality compared to Trimbach’s 2018 Gewurztraminer SGN, but each one of these two marvellous wines will have its share, check that, I meant legions, of fans. I wonder if I’m not selling it short by giving it “only” 97 points. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

2017 Pinot Gris Reserve                                                  92

Bright straw green with golden tinges. Very clean and precise, with fresh and long apple, smoke and herbal aromas and flavours that are classically dry, not to mention dense. Closes wonderfully dry and pure, this is a knockout given the hot year. Will prove absolutely perfect with sushi and sashimi, as it’s low in acidity thanks to the grape variety and the relatively warm year. Drinking window: now-2026.

2017 Gewurztraminer Classique                                   93

Bright yellow. Orchard and tropical fruit are nicely complemented by spices and flowers on the nose and in the mouth; not especially opulent by this wine grape’s standards, but long and fresh, I like it better on the fresh, spicy nose than on the leaner palate, but this clean, bright and long wine is very “Gewurtzy” and fans of the grape will love it! Drinking window: now-2026.

2016 Riesling Cuvée du Troiscentquatrevingdixième Anniversaire Alsace        93

Pale straw-yellow color. Aromas of ripe peach, soft citrus fruits, smoke and honey. Glyceral and dense, with a sappy aspect and strong stony minerality to the apricot, beeswax and spice flavours. Fresh, deep and suave, this nice Riesling wine showcaaes a lovely intensity fo fruit and spiciness. Closes very long and fresh. Super well done. Made with the best grapes from Trimbach’s many vineyards such as the Osterberg and the Schlossberg (previously, they have made a 350th anniversary wine in only a few years, such as 1976 and in 2001. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

Valentin Zusslin.

NC Cremant d’Alsace Sans Soufre                                                     92

No sulfur-wines are often undrinkable potions that have more in common with a bad apple cider than with wine, and so you (and I, and everyone else who have their brains switch turned on and don’t just run after the latest in fads) are much better off drinking a good cider. But then you come across a really good bubbly like this one and you realize what having talent and not just ideals (or wishful thinking) means. Bright straw, with fragrant aromas of apple and epar complicated by sweet spices and herbs. Then lively and almost pungent minerality infuses the honeyed orchard fruit emerging on the long back end. Very nice. Drinking window: now-2026

2019 Muscat Cuvée Marie Prestige Alsace                                 92

Straw-green. Subtle musky nose offers lime, lemon verbena, mint and some earthy low tones. Then nicely delineated and fairly deep, with lime, floral and spice flavors that linger nicely on the mineral-tinged long back end. This would be a perfect match for basil and tomato salads as well as soft chèvre with chives on warm sourdough bread. And of course, anything involving clams. Drinking window: now-2026.

2019 Riesling Orschwihr Alsace                                     91

Straw green. Liquid minerals and white flowers on the subtle nose. Then more exotic in the mouih with hints of tropical fruit complicating the floral and stony flavours. Nicely persistent on the long close which showcases good cut and clarity. Drinking window: now-2027

2019 Pinot Noir Ophrys Alsace                                      90

The Zusslin family has a knack with Pinot Noir and this neatly spicy, floral red boasts a nice silky mouthfeel and good length. Won’t make you forget about Richebourg but this is really lovely and promising. Drinking window: 2023-2028

2018 Gewurztraminer Bollenberg Alsace                            93

The Bollenberg is an excellent if little-known site and the Zusslin family made very good to outstanding wines in the 2018 vintage: that combination means you’d expect a great wine and this is exactly what you get. Bright golden-tinged yellow. Lychee, flowers and yellow fruits on the nose. Quite silky and with sneaky concentration to the tropical and orchard fruit that has spicy accents that are nicely persistent on the long suave finish. Concentrated but delicate at the same time, this is really quite good. Drinking window: now-2029.

Vignoble de 3 Terres (formerly Sebastian Mann)

2019 Sylvaner Mouton Bleu                                           94

Pale golden yellow. The deep color hints at noteworthy concentration. This is also evident on the nose, with notes of very ripe pear and Golden delicious apple complicated by hints of chamomile and sage. Fresh long and clean, with a saline presence that adds further acid bite to the smooth nuanced flavours of apple, pear and quince. This exceptionally well-balanced wine finsihes long and nicely energetic. Strikes me as one of the best Sylvaners Mann has ever made and despite clocking in at 14% is not especially hot or heavy. From 45-70 years old vines grown on sandstone (grès), limestone and granite; it is because of this origin that Sebastien Mann really feels close to this wine (a best seller for him) because the Sylvaner vines grow in the three vineyards on three different soils that are representative of the estate and from which the latter now takes its name from. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Pinot Blanc Alsace                                           91

Pale, bright yellow. Precise aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, honey and flowers. Juicy but ripe and quite dry, combining an enticing mid-palate creaminess with lovely cut and grip on the long herbally- and honey-accented finish. A 100% Auxerrois wine, but Sebastien tells me he is now complanting with Pinot Blanc when the Auxerrois dies. With the 2019 vintage, the name op the wine will change to “En Route”, another reference to the work by St.Exupery. Drinking window: now-2024.

2019 Riesling Extra Dry Alsace                                             91

Deep golden yellow; again the color speaks of the ripeness level and concetration of the wine. In fact, the nose is characterized by a late harvest quality with honeyed, air-dried notes to the ripe tropical and orchard fruit aromas and flavors. There’s just a little disjointed acidity on the medium-long finish. Grapes are picked near Ingersheim in a vineyard that is roughly 75 years old and that gives very small grapes and a very typically high acidity. This wine may be changing name as well soon, if it hasn’t already. Drinking window: now-2024.

2019 Riesling Vieilles Vignes Alsace                                     92

Bright straw-green. Lemony and spicy on both the nose and the palate, boasting lovely texture and length, not to mention way above average complexity. Honeyed and ripe but extremely well-balanced, this is deep and long, featuring an enticing spicy quality and the vertical nature of the granite soils the Rielsing is planted on.  This is outstanding. Drinking window: now-2028.

2018 Riesling Altengarten Alsace                                                 93

Bright straw yellow. Chablis-like acidity and lemony nuances to the aromas and flavours of fresh orchard fruit. Log and very focused on the tapering, long, finish. You can think of this has the big brother of the Risling Extra Dry bottling, made from 45 years old vines planted on mostly pink sandstone (and with limestone below), boasting the salinity typical of the sandstone but the acidity due to the limestone. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2018 Riesling Logelberg Alsace                                             92+

Bright pale straw-gold colour. Spicy and herbal aromas and flavours are nicely persistent and fresh. Boasts a savory quality but this is still an infant, and needs further time in the cellar, as it’s currently in a sightly dumb phase. Also has 14.5% alcohol, but you really can’t guess that, as the wine is so-well balanced. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2018 Riesling Pfersigberg Grand Cru Alsace                             92

Bright starw-green. Hints of licorice and peach make this seem a little sweeta first but then classically dry in the middle and on the finish, with lovely balance and a long, clean, fresh finish featuring the closing citrusy acidity of limestone. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

2016 Ortel Naturellement                                                      91

Dark bright yellow. Nose of pear and quince that is typical of Sylvaner, but also spicy aromatic touches of Gewurz. Then the Sylvaner takes over, but remains very spicy and saline, with a fleshy mouthfeel of orchard fruit and chamomile, though it’s not especially long Made with grapes grown in a lieu-dit near the south-east portion of Pfersigberg; in fact a small part of this wine is actually composed of grand cru Pfersigberg  co-plantings of Sylvaner, Muscat varieties, Pinot Gris and Gewurz. The blend is roughly 30% Gewurztraminer, 30% Sylvaner, 30% Muscat varieties, and 10% Pinot Gris. This is a “natural wine” bottled unfiltered and without added sulfur. Drinking window: now-2026.

2018 Pinot Gris Rosenberg Alsace                                               88

Bright yellow. Orange flowers and a little bit of oxidation on the nose. Ripe and round in the mouth, with building notes of butter and ripe orchard fruit, but also very fresh. Not especially long on the mint-accented finish. Made from grapes grown in a very windy site with lots of iron in the soil. Drinking window: 2022-2028.

2018 Pinot Gris Eichberg Grand Cru Alsace                             93

Bright golden-tinged straw-green colour. Peach, lime peel, and flint on the nose. Powdered stone and ginger, plus a strong impression of soil tones in the mouth. Finishes tactile and long with plenty of minerally grip. The Eichberg is one of my favourite grand crus in all of Alsace for its very austere, refined, closed down when young wines, such that the Pinot Gris is rarely overripe and overly showy as it all too often is from other sites. This one by Mann is still very reticent but also very promising. Drinking window: 2023-2031.

2017 Cremant d’Alsace Brut Nature                                    91

Pale straw gold. The warm vintage is obvious on the nose and in the mouth, with a creamy round but also peppery mouthfeel, with good juiciness and a gingery nuance at the medium-long back end. This is a different blend from the 2016 Brut Nature, with 60% Chard and Pinot Noir and 40% Auxerrois, a move dictated by the warmer vintage (the low acid Auxerrois tends to get flabby in such conditions) though the mostly limestone soil helps give this bubbly acidity which it otherwise would not have. Spent 36 months on the lees. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2016 Cremant d’Alsace Brut Nature                                    92

Bright straw. Low-pitched citrus and vanilla aromas and flavours offer good purity. Juicy and on the creamy side, with a firm mineral and honeyed spine and p[lenty of butter, hazelnut and leesy nuances. Nice long aftertaste. This is a blend of Auxerrois (60%), Chardonnay (20%) and Pinot Noir (20%) that spent 32 months on the lees. The Champagne-like touch this wine exudes speaks of Sebastien Mann’s tenure at Vouette et Sorbée. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Gewurztraminer Super Dry Alsace                                    92

Good full yellow. Rose petals and grapefruit peel on the inviting nose. Then outstanding minerality and citrussy acidity on the long, clean and classically dry finish. Very pure, precise Gewurz, this is really excellent. Drinking window: now-2027.

2019 Pinot Noir Chemin de Pierres Alsace                                        89

Saturated red. Black cherry and a wild note of game on the pungent nose that is mostly dominated by a floral note. Big and juicy on entry, with a suave texture and ripe red and blue fruit flavours. Closes with big, ripe, dusty tannins and chewy, saline fruit. This strikes me as being initially sweeter and more perfumed than the 2018 Chemin de Pierres but then turns much more because of the higher proportion of stems (whole bunches) used (40% instead of 20%). As the Steinweg lieu-dit where these grapes grow is a warm site, the stems help provide freshness. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Pinot Noir Chemin de Soleil Alsace                                           90

At once big, meaty and rich wine but with a delicate presence too to its sour red cherry jam, darker cherry fruit and herbs on the log fresh finish. This is lovely. The limestone soil these Pinot Noir vines are planted on make for a much fresher wine than the Chemin de Pierres and its granite soil. Macerates about 45 days on the skins and is aged in a mix of French and Austrian oak. Sebastien has two passions in wine, Crémants and Pinot noir and I’d say his wines are improving continuossly. Drinking window: 2023-2027.

2018 Pinot Noir Chemin de Pierres                                                    91

Deep red-ruby. Not very Pinot-like on the nose but rather more reminiscent of Syrah, there’s something vaguely Côte-Rôteish in its black pepper and smoke enhanced red and dark fruit aromas and flavours. The long aftertaste has a definite ferrous note and shows a little disjointed acidity. About 20% whole bunches were used in this vintage. This is made with a massal selection from Burgundy’s Clos des Epeneaux and the vines are planted on granite soils in the Steinweg lieu-dit. Drinking window: 2023-2028.

2010 Pinot Gris Rosenberg Vendanges Tardives Alsace                                93

Bright gold. Tropical fruit and mushrooms mix with apple and pear, butter and honey. Long, fresh and very good balance, this dances light across the palate with moderate sweetness (70 g/L) and with no notes of noble rot but only some hints of passerillage. Drinking window: now-2029.

2011 Riesling Selection de Grains Nobles Alsace                              94

Golden yellow. Very expressive nose features dusty stone, lime jelly, mace, cinnamon, apricot, and spring flowers. Then very intensely flavored and sharply defined, with strong mineral and spice notes contributing to the wine’s piercing personality and its capacity to spread across the whole palate. Vibrant and well-delineated on the powerful but elegantly styled finish. The grapes with which this wine was made were picked in two successive passes and were all practically hit by noble rot. Drinking window: now-2032.

Vignoble du Reveur.

2019 Alsace Pierre Sauvage                                            92

Bright deep yellow color (a result of about 5% orange wine added ). Orchard fruit, anise, and menthol on the nose and in the mouth. Very good balance and length here. This very successful low sulfur wine is a blend of the three Pinot varieties and Auxerrois. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2019 Alsace Pierre Sauvage Unfiltered                                       92

Paler and cloudy yellow, much more so than the 2019 Pierre Sauvage that was filtered. The broad nose offers ripe apricot and peach with herbs. Then more reticent on the palate but has very good depth and size, with similar flavours to the aromas, finishing a bit more austere and taut than refined. Frankly I’m not sure this is necessarily the better than the filtered Pierre Sauvage, as most people would be inclined to think or expect. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Alsace Vibrations                                                   94

Bright yellow with golden tinges. Lemon curd, jasmin, ginger and white pepper on the perfumed nose. Very beautiful wine that finishes long and delicately chewy with lingering nuances of tobacco and candied ginger. Lovely precision and purity to this wine. Great stuff. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2018 Vigne en Rose Alsace                                                     95

Bright yellow. Peppery spices, cinnamon, rose petal and orange jam on the nose and in the mouth. Suave texture. Lovely wine that speaks of very rich and ripe Gewurztraminer but this is at the same time very elegant. Closes long and not at all chewy with an enticing saline quality. Mainly Gewurz with a little Riesling and Pinot Gris. About 10% of the Gewurz macerated ten days on the skins.  Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2019 Singulier Alsace                                                      93

Pale orange. Aromas of orange cordial, tangerine liqueur, sweet spices and some oak peeking through. A blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois; the Riesling undergoes carbonic maceration, while the Pinot Gris and Auxerrois are traditionally macerated. Mathieu Deiss told me he likes to do the carbonic maceration because one aprt of his Riesling for this wine always has a high malic acid concentration and he finds carbonic maceration to be an effective way to get rid of it. No sulfur added. Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2019 Artisan Alsace                                                         94

Bright deep yellow. Orange and strawberry on the nose and in the mouth. Really delicate, refined aromas and flavours of redcurrants, strawberries, orange peel, tangerine jelly, nutmeg cinnamon and cumin. Long peppery and gingery bite on the long close that also features a hint of bitter orange marmelade with notes of red and yellow fruits lingering nicely too. No sulfur added. A 60-40 blend of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Drinking window: 2023-2030.

2019 Un Instant sur Terre Alsace                                                89

Pale pink with a slightly hazy nuance. Aromas and flavours of apple, pear compote, herbs and flowers. Gently textured and with a spicy rhubarb note on the long finish. Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris that spent six months in amphora. Drinking window: 2023-2027.

Domaine Weinbach.

2018 Pinot Noir S Alsace                                                 91

Bright red-ruby. Lovely juicy and very fruity on the long clean and spicy finish. This has a very vertical mouthfeel because of the granite soil the Pinot Noir is planted in (on the Schlossberg grand cru) so this lacks the roundness of the Pinot Noir W (on limestone soil) but you get instead spiciness, elegance and power. Made from a very old plot of Pinot Noir (Catherine Faller tells me they don’t even know just how old and where it comes from) that spent 14 months in barrique (15% new oak) at mid-slope (at Domaine Weinbach they sued to make just one Pinot Noir called “W”, made with grapes picked on the Schlossberg and the Altembourg (therefore a mix of granite and limestone soils) and so in 2016 they decided to split the grtape sources in two and so started making, beginning with that vintage, their Pinot Noir W (from the Altenbourg) and the Pinot Noir S (from the Schlossberg). No whole bunches used in 2018, but they did so beginning with the 2019 vintage with this Pinot Noir (not with the one from the Altembourg). Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Pinot Noir Altenbourg Alsace                                      91

Pale ruby: this is much paler in colour than the 2018 Pinot Noir S. Perfumed and lively on the floral, fruit-accented nose. Then much richer and bigger in the mouth than the 2018 Pinot Noir S, with an almost chunky mouthfeel that is however quite lifted thanks to the Altenbourg’s limestone. Aged in 30% new oak. This was completely destemmed (as was the S). Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2019 MFO Maceration Furstentum Zero                            90

Bright yellow. Lychee and grapefruit on the enticing nose. This 66% Gewurztraminer (macerated for three weeks on the skins) and 33% Pinot Gris blend that is clean rich ripe and round finishing long and suave with lovely Gewurztraminer spicy tropical fruit and fresh nuances dominating. They will change this wine’s name. Drinking window: 2022-2025.

2019 Riesling Furstentum RFO                                      90

Clean fresh lime aroams and flavours are zippy long and fresh with a slightly tannic mouthfeel. Closes long and brght. This curiously named wine (where the O stands for “zero sulfites”)  is a massive effort reflecting its Furstentum origin of the grapes used to make it. Spent 10 months on the lees. Drinking window: 2022-2026.

2019 Sylvaner Alsace                                                92

Limpid straw-green. Captivating nose of quince, green apple and coriander, this is very Sylvaner on nose but less in the mouth where it is instead very ripe and round, almost Auxerrois-like in fact. Boasts sneaky concentration and a delicately saline nuance on the long back end. Shows a bit more fat than ins ome previous years. A beautiful wine made from 50 years old vines in the Clos. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2019 Pinot Blanc Alsace                                           90

Bright pale golden yellow. Fresh perfumed aromas of honey, spices and apricot. This is both excellent and very Auxerrois on the nose, especially, but turns quite tannic on the long clean fresh close. This is a blend of 66% Auxerrois and 33% Pinot Blanc. As the Pinot Blanc is in the Furstentum grand cru they have decided to now make a Pinot Blanc Furstentum (called Les Terres du Prince as it cannot  be labeled as a grand cru) and give it a full Burgndy treatment with complete malo and 100% one year old barrique. This wine will be out in 2021 for the first time ever. Drinking window: now-2025.

2019 Muscat Alsace                                                  92

Bright straw green. Perfumed, nuanced nose shows musky citrus notes, mint and spice. Fresh and dense with a crystalline flavour of candied citrus peel and apple. Finishes minty clean and long, this will make an excellent  aperitif. The Muscat Ottonel really comes out on the nose with aeration while there’s more Muscat d’Alsace in the mouth (richer bigger body). A cooler vintage leaving a trace of nice crisp liveliness and a zingy note of lime on the long fresh finish. A beautiful wine, but unfortunately only 3000 bottles/year made from one plot in the Clos and one in the Schlossberg. Drinking window: now-2025.

2019 Riesling Cuvée Théo Alsace                                          92

Vivid pale yellow. Musky, aromatically expressive nose boasts pure, very pretty white peach and white flower notes. Lively, rpecise and suave in the mouth, but also quite mineral, with complex flavours of orange blossom and orchard fruit. Nicely dense and classically dry with a long, beautiful vibrant floral aftertaste. This is really a great wine considering its price point and that it’s essentially an entry-level effort. Impossible not to like with all its easy-going charm, this is one of the best Riesling Théo ever. Drinking window: now-2027.

2019 Gewurztraminer Les Treilles du Loup Alsace                  94

Pale gold-tinged colour. Pure aromas of fresh citrus fruit and spices with a bright violet and mineral topnote. Concentrated and very focused, but fresh and juicy, with an almost Riesling-like minerality to its fresh orchard and tropical fruit flavours. Offers very good intensity and precision of fruit, with very persistent finishing flavors of citrus skin, spices and powdered rocks. Considering this is another entry-level wine (what used to be called the Cuvée Théo), this is a masterpiece, a Gewurztraminer that is very varietally accurate yet remarkably elegant, one that even diehard Riesling lovers will adore. Very, very well done here, this is a absolutely unique, textbook demonstration of how to make great Gewurztraminer wine (though the Riesling-like quality it showcases is really unique too). Drinking window: now-2030.

2018 Riesling Cuvée Théo Alsace                                          90

Bright straw colour. Lovely very clean and precise minty yellow fruit, cinnamon and ginger.Closes long and very bright. Made with grapes from the Clos and young vines (less than 20 years old) from the Schlossberg. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Riesling Cuvée Colette Alsace                                      91

Good full straw colour. Aromas of white peach, herbs and quince are somewhat subdued. Boasts a lovely mouthfeel wth similar flavours to the aromas. Lovely balance and thrust on the savory, persistent finish. The grapes are sourced from a big two hectares plot in the lower part of the Schlossberg with granite subsoil and granitic sands in the topsoil that help give rounder wines. Drinking window: 2022-2028.

2018 Riesling Schlossberg Alsace                                          90

Vibrant straw-green with golden tinges. Very expressive nose of peach, apricot, flowers and minerals. Then crystalline acidity and underlying minerality associated to the slightly tight, inexpressive fruit flavours that are just this side of herbal. Closely long, with hints of lime and a chewy note that teeters dangerously close to becoming astringent. Drinking window: 2023-2027.

2018 Riesling Schlossberg Cuvée Ste.Catherine Alsace                           94

Golden-tinged straw yellow. Rich, concentrated nose of exotic fruits and honey, this is much more complex and dense than all the other 2018 Riesling wines I tasted from Weinbach. This is a real step up in quality in the mouth too, where the penetrating, saline, ginger bite complements lemon curd and tangerine flavours. Finishes long and clean with lovely gin and tonic nuances. Drinking window: 2023-2030.

2019 Pinot Gris Clos des Capucins Alsace                                         92

Good full yellow. Appley nose is very Pinot Gris Clocks in at only 6 g/L r.s., so this is one of the driest Pinot Gris wines they have ever made at Domaine Weinbach. Very well balanced, it boasts pure apple liqueur nuances on the long finish. Perhaps not exactly the last word in complexity, but this easygoing, approachable Pinot Gris wine is clean and fresh, and boasts sneaky concentration. Will be very good with tuna and marinated salmon. Drinking window: 2022-2026.

2018 Pinot Gris Cuvée Ste. Catherine Alsace                             94

Bright straw golden yellow. Headya roams of ripe yellow apple, peach, truffles and tarte tatin. Rich and multilayered, with a silky mouthfeel and a velvety creamy texture of noteworthy density. The aftertaste is long and complex. Made from grapes picked in one plot in the Schlossberg and the old vines in the Clos des Capucins at the back of the house (all roughly 40 years old).  Another one of the most classically dry Pinot Gris wines they have ever made at Weinbach (only 9 g/L r.s.). Drinking window: 2023-2029.

2018 Pinot Gris Cuvee Laurence Alsace                                     94

Deep full yellow. Baked apple, figs and spies on the perfumed nose. Then rich and luscious, with slightly sweet flavours of apple sauce, butter, almond paste and figs. The long close is vibrant and suave. In my experience this wine ages remarkably well despite its always rich, luscious texture. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2019 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Alsace                                         95

Bright straw gold colour. Guava, mint, flowers, cinnamon and clove on the nose. Rich, spicy and aromatic in the mouth, with a vibrant structure and a persistent, spicy, velvety finish that is very pretty and that features notes of ginger. This went on sale early as they were running out of wine. Drinking window: 2022-2029.

2018 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Théo Alsace                                        92

Bright yellow. Reticent nose hints at spices and orchard fruit, but isn’t very Gewurztraminery. Then very nice in the mouth where it is much more interesting than on the nose. Very rich and dense but also clean, fresh and pure. In the past this wine struck me as being more sugar-driven, while now there’s probably better expressivity of site. Drinking window: 2022-2025.

2018 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Laurence Alsace                                 96

Deep bright yellow. Explosive aromas and flavours of orange oil and tropical fruit but complicated by energetic floral and spicy notes. More saline and savory and a touch less opulent than in the past but still lovely, though this is one wine where the new winemaking team has to be careful tweaking it, given that the Cuvée Laurence is probably the single best non-VT/SGN Gewurztraminer wine in the world. As there was no Gewurztramienr made from the Altenbourg in 2018 (because of an untimely hail episode), what grapes remained were added here. Made from grapes culled from the bottom of the Altenbourg on marly-calcareous soil. Perfect with smoked salmon, and sishes from Indian, Marocco and Thai cuisines. Drinking window: 2022-2028.

2018 Gewurztraminer Furstentum Grand Cru Alsace                                  95

Bright medium yellow. Dominated by the cru on the nose, so it’s hard to tell its Gewurtz! Hints at white flowers, butter, stones, flower and fresh citrus. Riper in the mouth, with a dense quality with flavours similar to the aromas. Finishes long with a dainty element and repeating mineral, rose water and saline notes. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2017 Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Alsace                                     96

Good vivid pale golden yellow. Piercing aromas and flavours of apricot, apple pie, caramel and sea-salt are lifted by lively acidity nicely extending the flavours on the long, luscious but vibrant back end. The grapes were harvested on October 25, with about 20% of the berries hit by noble rot and the rest were passerillé. Drinking window: 2022-2032.

2017 Gewurztraminer Mambourg Vendanges Tardives Alsace                           98

Lively straw yellow. Utterly beautiful nose that is clean, focused and loaded with tropical fruit, lemon ice lemon verbena and cinnamon notes. so A huge but balanced wine that finishes with flavours tht are similar to the aromas and are very long, clean and precise. Very sweet and luscious yet also very elegant for such a big ripe wine. About 30% of the grapes were hit by noble rot. Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2017 Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles Alsace                                 99

Golden yellow. Very pure aromas of orchard fruit, baked cinnamon apple pie, spicecake and guava. Then much of the same in the mouth where guava and passion fruit nectar flavours dominate. Very long and remarkably sauve and clean on the fresh and long finish. Outstanding balance (130 g/L r.s. and  7 g/Ltotal acidity). Drinking window: 2024-2032.

Zind Humbrecht

2018 Pinot Noir Alsace                                                    90  

Good full ruby-red. Plum, herbs, violet and a medicinal note on the nose. Nice fruit on the nose, while strikes me as a little fruit-challenged in the mouth, closing slightly short and tart, but easygoing. Needs a couple of years to round out the rough edges. Planted around 1993, about 75% was destemmed (they started doing so in 2017) and had the wine in the fermenting tank for a full lunar cycle [(which helps the wine lose any rusticity allowing it to harmonize (3.1 g/L total acidity, 3.7 ph) and develop rounder tannins)]. No punching down is done currently, though that may change now that Pierre-Emile Humbrecht has worked/interned at DRC for 6 months. This was aged in 228 Burgundy pièces (no new oak) from some of that region’s best domaines (including DRC). The paltry yields were about 35 hL/ha. Drinking window: 2023-2030

2018 Vin de France Zind                                                               88

Pale yellow. An initial acetic whiff clears quickly with aeration to offer stony nuances to the white orchard and fresh citrus aromas. Then quite savoury in the mouth, where similar flavours to the aromas are long and clean, buoyed by nice acid lift. The close is long and energetic, but I’d decant this at least an hour or two ahead for maximum enjoyment (you need to let the opungent notes wear off and also to smoothen it out somewhat). A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Auxerrois grown in the Clos Windsbuhl, one of my favourite vineyards in the world and characterized by Alsace’s oldest limestone soils (of Mushelkalk origin). In fact, the southern part of the Windsbuhl is actually mostly very cold heavy soils with limestone in a shadow, very windy area of the vineyard (making it a good spot for Chardonnay). Made from roughly 30 year old vines planted in 1995 and from relatively high yields for ZH (68 hl/ha). The Zind is classified as Vin de France (table wine) because it contains about 70% Chardonnay which is not an allowed grape in AOP Alsace. Olivier’s father Leonard Humbrecht chose to plant this grape on the coolest part of the Clos Windsbuhl, near the forest, with a small amount of Auxerrois that rounds it out. Drinking window: 2023-2030

2018 Muscat Goldert Grand Cru Alsace                                           94

Is the Goldert my favourite Muscat vineyard in Alsace? Is it the best vineyard for the Muscat varieties? My answer would be yes to both those questions, and Zind Humbrecht’s version of Alsatian Muscat wine is just about as good as they come. Bright straw-green. Very floral, clean and fresh lime and grapefruit aromas and flavours, complicated by eucalyptus notes, but less minty than some past examples. Lightly saline on the juicy, floral and classically dry finish. The grapes are planted on not so steep, blackish-coloured middle Jurassic limestone soil (and marl) not too dissimilar from that of the Jura that always gives a pronounced salinity in the middle and on the finish and allows the grapes to ripen slowly without packing in too much sugar (and hence keeping potential alcohol levels lower than they might otherwise be). That said, in my experience this wine is very vintage-dependent: in cold vintages its more herbal, but in warmer ones it’s more exotic This was made with practically only Muscat d’Alsace (about 5% Muscat Ottonel too) that is about 32 years old now. Drinking window: 2022-2036

2018 Terroir Calcaire Alsace                                         91

The “terroir calcaire” name refers to the main soil-type on which these grapes are planted: Jurassic limestone near the Goldert, so this “roche” wine always has higher acidity than the other “roche” wines. That said, I think this is ready to drink now. The wine used to be called Terroir d’Alsace (until the 2015 vintage included) but this new name gives a much better idea to the consumer about what the wine is like (the 4.9 g/L r.s. and 6.7 g/L total acidity, not to mention the 44 years old vines, would also help greatly, but we’ll just leave it at that and move on). Drinking window: 2022-2032

2018 Terroir Granitique Alsace                                     90

Bright golden-tinged yellow. Very spicy reddish fruit flavours have a fleshy, iron-like nuance and a long savoury finish. The acidity here hits at at the tip of the tongue rather than the sides as it usually does, and the wine is much more floral and spicier than is any Riesling wine made off limestone soils. Very long (more so than Roche Calcaire), and in time it will broaden out further as all granite soil-based wines tend to do, becoming larger and fleshier. All the grapes came from the Brand, from south-facing, rather hot microclimate and pink granite with two micas. The wine is mostly made from two plots right near the Steinglitz section of the Brand (one of my favourites that Humbrecht wisely also will include in his Brand grand cru wine from tme to time) and three parcels planted in 1970s and 1980s that are west-exposed the grapes of which always go into the roche grantiique (in other words this wine hits way above its weight, given that it’s mostly declassified grand cru grapes). From 36 years old vines, 3.3 r.s. 5.8 g/L total acdity Drinking window: 2022-2032

2018 Terroir Roche Roulée Alsace                                       90         

Bright straw colour. Lime, flowers and licorice on the nose. Nicely dry and bracing, with a minty fruitiness and plenty of cut to make for a flexible dinner-table wine. Closes long, saline and precise with ripe pear and herbal nuances. This well-balanced wine (7.8 g/L r.s. and 5.5 g/l total acidity) offers a take on Riesling that is in between what the Roche Granitique and the Roche Calcaire each offer. It’s a very clean, very fresh, downright yummy wine that is not likely to ever be the longest wine you’ll taste but oh so much fun to guzzle away! This used to be called the Herrenweg (of Turkheim), but beginning with this vintage it takes on a new name (there will also be a Gwtz in this lineup). Made from old vine Riesling (roughly 52 years old) planted on the gravel soil of the valley floor with very little clay, a soil that gives wines that are less acid-driven and that tend to be fruitier and readier to drink sooner.  Drinking window: 2022-2027.

2018 Riesling Heimbourg Alsace                                          91

Lively yellow colour. Still fairly closed on the nose, hinting only at pear and floral aromas. Then long, with attractive flavours of lemon and floral berries boasting excellent balance (4.7 g/L r.s. and 6.2 g/L total acidity). Though it is seemingly soft on entry (despite a pH of 3.1), it turns juicy and lively in the middle, with the citrussy acidity really extending the flavours on the back end. These vines are located behind the town of Turkheim, a very high quality lieu-dit about nine hectares large, (of which Zind Humbrecht owns 4 hectares). The vines are not especially old as the site was replanted in the 1994 (so we’re talking about roughly 27-28 years old Riesling grapevines) but I find the wine is of extremely high quality especially since about the mid-2000s; a walk through the vineyard shows that the Riesling grapes are especially small compared to those in some other local vineyards, as the thin top soil makes it harder for the grapes to grow. Mark my words: there’s plenty to like in the Heimbourg, both in the place and in your glass.  Drinking window: 2023-2038

2018 Riesling Clos Hauserer Alsace                                     93

This is lovely, very long and clean with both richness and size and a hint of residual sweetness though I think most people drinking this will find it classically dry. Showcases very pure, concentrated, lovely ripe tropical fruit and just a touch of alcohol-derived warmth. Never mind that, this strikes me as one of the best young Clos Hauserers in a long time. The Clos Hauserer is a very beautiful vineyard area; for those who haven’t seen it and walked it like I have, the very old Riesling vines (planted in 1973) are located on calcareous (Oligocene) marl, just below the Hengst in a slight dip (a place characterized by the eroded topsoil from the Hengst that over time collected in the depression below, but with lots of small fragments of limestone accounting for the more or less obvious minerality of the wine in most years.  Drinking window: 2023-2036+

2018 Riesling Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                         95

Is there a site that gives better wines overall than the Clos Windsbuhl? I don’t think so. Yes, the Rangen is a unique place and its wines incredible, but the Clos Windsbuhl is just as unique a site that excels at all three of the white varieties planted there (while the Rangen is not an ideal place for Gewurz). This 2018 Riesling is just drop-dead gorgeous: bright straw yellow, with a clean, fresh and very pure lemony and mineral spine nicely tapering on the extremely long and vibrant finish (the Windsbuhl is a rather cool, late-ripening site). The aromas and flavours of white peach, fresh citrus fruit, mint, lemon verbena and gin are unforgettable. Magically balanced (7.9 r.s. and 8.3 g/L total acidity), Riesling wines just really don’t get much better than this anywhere. While still a tad austere (as is typical of wines from this site in their youth: in my experience, acid freaks can never get enough of Windsbuhl wines, while those who like slightly softer wines are usually less impressed), this 2018 Riesling from the Windsbuhl does strike me as being readier than usual to drink, as it is already hinting at the honeyed and stony nuances that typify the wines of the Windsbuhl after about ten years. In 2018 the yields were relatively high at fiftyfive hL/ha. The 44 years old vines are planted facing South-East at the very top of the medium-steep slope (where the soil is thinnest and most rocky) characterized by Muschelkalk calcareous (Trias) soil. Drinking window: 2024-2045.

2018 Riesling Brand Grand Cru Alsace                               96

Good full yellow. The aromas of ripe peach and apricot with nuances of chamomile and honey speak of a very ripe Brand this year. Then powerful and mineral, rich and ripe, with the peach and apricot nuances repeating on the palate and on the fleshy yet minerally vibrant finish. Very complex and long (the vines are about 69 years old!), this is a real masterpiece of impeccable balance (5.7 g/L r.s. and 6.2 g/L total acidity) in what isa warm year: by contrast, the Brand usually excels with Rieslings in cooler and wet vintages like 2005 (but keep in mind the cooler wind from the Munster valley often makes rain to come by in this grand cru’s area, so the Brand is not just a warm site, but also a very dry one, usually). While generally said to be a granite-based soil, the granite of the Brand is very different than that of other granite-based soils: it’s a biotite type of granite that delivers a very different mouthfeel, aromas and flavors than other granite soils such as those of the Schlossberg (which is not at all surprising, given that they are of a different granite). The black mica that peppers the deeper layers of the soil really help maintain freshness in the wines in not droughty years. Drinking window: 2024-2042

2018 Riesling Clos Saint-Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru Alsace              97

Bright pale gold-tinged yellow. Smoky, flinty nuances to the ripe yellow fruit, honeyed and stony aromas and flavours. Then beautifully deep and clean with vibrant minerality and delicately spicy nuances, not to mention classically dry (2.7 g/L r.s. and 5.8 g/L total acidity). The long, focused finish is very saline and actually surprisingly textured and tactile, almost tannic in fact, a souvenir of the very small 2018 Rangen Riesling grapes. The very steep slope and 56 years old vines make for one of the world’s most beautiful vineyards. Drinking window: 2025-2045

2018 Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire Alsace                                              91+

Bright yellow. Currently dumbed down on the nose, then rich, ripe and round in the mouth. Finishes long and clean, with apple and pear nuances lingering nicely and very good fruit/acid balance (4.6 g/L r.s. and 5.2 g/L total acidity). This is made with the young vines of the Clos Windsbuhl. Drinking window: 2022-2036.

2018 Pinot Gris Roche Volcanique Alsace                                                91

Good full yellow. Lovely spicy orchard fruit and floral aromas and flavours. Rich, round and slightly sweet, not to mention long, finish. Made with the young Pinot Gris vines of the Rangen (still though about 35 years old: to help you gain some perspective, in many countries they actually uproot vines at that age because not very productive). Drinking window: 2022-2030

2018 Pinot Gris Rotenberg Alsace                                               92                

Typically dark yellow colour (the Rotenberg’s iron-rich soil helps fix colour). Smoky, ripe tropical and orchard fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Tactile and luscious on the close, the Rotenberg is a magical site for making truly great Pinot Gris (but as I have been following this estate’s wines for I don’t know how many years, I just want to point out they used to make an outstanding Sylvaner wine from this site the vines of which they unfortunately ripped up tin 1992; and to this sorry day, I still haven’t gotten over it). Drinking window: 2022-2030

2018 Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                      95

Pale-medium straw yellow. Enticing, showy aromas of apricot nectar, minerals and white flowers, with fresh citrus fruit emerging with air. Silky and dense but with a Windsbuhl typical core of apricot, fresh citrus and honeyed flavours that emerge after an initial but of leesy reduction. Very nicely framed by lemony if ripe acidity (4.2 g/L total acidity, but this tastes like it’s more than that despite a relatively high pH of 3.5) and complicated by a welcome saline nuance adding interest. Boasts lovely density on the very long, clean fresh aftertaste. Made from 50 years old South/South-East vines planted on Muschelkalk calcareous-marl and a medium-steep slope. Drinking window: 2026-2042.

2018 Pinot Gris Clos Sant-Urbain Rangen De Thann Alsace                        97

Now this is truly beautiful. Gorgeous deep straw yellow colour with bronze tinges. Rich ripe aromas of apple butter, custard cream, leesy reduction and spices, plus just the vaguest hint of smoky botrytis. Then extremely long, clean and very rich with a dense, spicy and sweet core of ripe orchard fruit and spices (there’s about 10 g/L r.s. here), complicated by hints of apple butter, pear nectar and caramel. Made from 55 years old vines from tell-tale Rangen-low yields of 29 hl/ha. Drinking window: 2026-2042.

2018 Gewurztraminer Roche Roulée Alsace                                     92

All aboard the fantastic Gewurztraminer train! This roughly entry-level wine is truly drop-dead gorgeous.  Bright yellow. Cinnamon and menthol complement ripe tropical fruit on the rich, luscious downright opulent finish. The Herrenweg is just a great terroir for this variety (gravel and rich clay silt soils), and the roughly 71 years old vines do the rest. Drinking window: 2022-2029.

2018 Gewurztraminer Roche Calcaire Alsace                                          91

Lively yellow. More floral and delicately spicy on the nose rather than fruity. Then long, creamy and voluptuously ripe, with a round mouthfeel and plenty of apple sauce and spicy tropical fruit nectars and jams on the sultry finish. Very classic Gewurtz, but also rather sweet (40 g/L r.s and 4.3 g/L total acidity) Made from 37 years old vines, I loved this!  Drinking window: 2023-2030

2018 Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                 92+

Luminous straw yellow. Violet and white flowers dominated the gently spiced stone and tropical fruit on the nose that showcases a typical note of beeswax. Ripe and candied fruit flavours dominate on entry, then sweet syrup-like notes of pear and apple (this has 78 g/L r.s.). Very long and luscious on the finish but not yet showing the classic Gewurz spiciness and gravitas.  Drinking window: 2025-2048

2018 Gewurztraminer Hengst Grand Cru Alsace                             96

Bright golden-tinged yellow. Knockout nose combines crystallized fruits, honey, minerals and tangy grapefruit and lime. Superbly vibrant, with strong acidity giving the citrus flavors razor-sharp definition and penetrance. The extremely long, vibrant finish is unforgettable. There is truly amazing complexity and density here on both the nose and the palate. The roughly 67 years old vines were planted on limestone-marl (two plots planted between the two World Wars (in fact, these are the oldest vineyard plots owned by Zind Humbrecht). Drinking window: 2026-2046

2018 Gewurztraminer Clos Saint-Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru Alsace       94

Luminous yellow. Expressive, exotic aromas of grapefruit reduction, mango, orange pekoe tea, jasmine and musky spices. At once silky, thick and very concentrated, but also fresh and bright, with precise flavors of blood orange and apricot, this offers a compelling combination of texture and lift. There is a piercing, lemony fresh quality to the ripe finish that is very long but less opulent than some of the other 2018 Gewurzes I tasted at Zind Humbrecht. I think this is the best Rangen Gewurz they have made here in quite some time. From 39 years old vnes, this is sweet (50+g/L r.s.) but not cloying or over the top.   Drinking window: 2026-2048

2017 Riesling Roche Granitique Alsace                                             90

Deep yellow. Very concentrated and long, with perfumed spicy stone fruit aromas and a rich dense elegant mouthfeel. The flavours echo the aromas and finish with noteworthy salinity and savouriness. Drinking window: 2022-2026

2017 Riesling Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                                93

Vivid yellow. Very smoky on the nose, with hints of herbs, apricot and peach, but perhaps a little less complex than truly great vintages of the Windsbuhl Riesling. Still, this is very pure and long, boasting a penetrating quality that is both so great and so Clos Windsbuhl (and in spite of the hot year). Still relatively reduced and a little closed but it offers already now enticing hints of lemon-tinged stones with a touch of honey on the long finish. Only 12% alcohol, but a ton of flavour, and classically dry.  Drinking window: 2026-2042

2017 Riesling Grand Cru Brand Alsace                                             94

Vivid yellow-gold. Aromas of lemon pith, orange flowers, mienrals and leesy reduction. Offers a delicate spiciness on the palate, then meaty and broad but refined showcasing good finishing sweetness and length. Needs time in a good cellar.  Drinking window: 2025-2042.

2017 Riesling Clos St.Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand cru Alsace              95

Golden highlights to the straw yellow colour. Aromas of jasmin, lemon verbena, tequila, ripe yellow peach and nectarine are piercing. Clean and fresh in the mouth, with mineral and lemony nuances that linger very nicely and flavours similar to the aromas. Long and stony on the rich dense finish. This very young wine needs about five years in a good cellar to show all it has to offer, which is plenty. Boasting truly impeccable balance (4.2 /L r.s. and 5.7 g/L total acidity), this was made from a very low 19 hl/ha. Drinking window: 2025-2044.

2017 Pinot Gris Rotenberg Alsace                                                      93

Deep yellow. Gilled nuts and marzipan complement ripe apple and pear on the inviting nose. Less class but more power than the Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris, but with a fleshy, smoky, stony mouthfeel that is very impressive. Closes long and saline, with brilliant savoury freshness and balance (2.6 g/L r.s. and 5.4 g/L total acidity). Drinking window: 2022-2033

2017 Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                             94

Bright deep straw yellow with golden highlights. Currently very shut down on the waxy, leesy nose, this is actually very herbal and is in dire need of being decanted at least a couple of hours ahead (at least!). Much better in the mouth where it is broad and large, but also minerally fresh. Features lovely flavours of orange liqueur and peach. Long, clean and round on the balanced aftertaste. At 7.7 g/L r.s. this finishes just lightly off-dry, but the 5.6 g/L total acidity and low 3.3 pH really make it seem classically dry.  Drinking window: 2024-2042

2017 Pinot Gris Clos Saint-Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru Alsace          94

Vivid golden-tinged deep yellow. Tangy orange peel, quince, licorice and grilled nuts complicate ripe pear, smoke and strawberry on the complex nose. Highly concentrated, mineral- and fruit-driven flavors of apricot, peach, orange oil, tangerine and honey; thick but vibrant thanks to harmonious acidity (only 3 g/L total acidity and a 3.6 pH). Really explosive and persistent on the superb, classically dry (1.6 g/L r.s.), clean, fresh, spicy focused finish, that features repeating nuances of caramel and green apple. Very great Pinot Gris, one of the great dry ones from the Rangen. At 14.4% alcohol this isn’t exactly a shrinking violet, but it is so well-balanced all those octanes really don’t bother at all. I’ve said it and written it before, but bear with me, because it’s worth repeating just so that it’s crystal-clear: Zind Humbrecht’s Clos Saint-Urbain Rangen de Thann is the greatest dry Pinot Gris wine in the world. Drinking window: 2025-2038

2017 Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl Alsace                                        93

Deep bright yellow. Lovely Gewurztraminer nose of ripe citrus and tropical fruit, some grilled bacon and menthol. Then linear and broad, with flavours similar to the aromas kicked up a notch by some peppery and gingery spices. Very clean and lively but a little diffuse currently, and not yet showing where it’s going to go. Finishes broad and varietally accurate, and with noteworthy residual sweetness (40 g/L r.s.) but comes across as less sweet than that, thanks to high extract, a 3.6 pH and 4.56 g/L total acidity. Drinking window: 2025-2047.

2017 Gewutztraminer Hengst Grand Cru Alsace                                    96

Good full yellow gold. Captivating nose of flowers (iris, lavender and violet), grilled bacon, caramel and sea-salt, with a whiff of honey and porcini. Then very sweet rich and dense, this compellingly powerful but very suave Gewurz is just a winemaking tour de force. The aftertaste is luscious, remarkably balanced (67 g/L r.s., 3.8 g/L total acidity and also a 3.8 pH) and very sexy, not to mention exceedingly long. Made from roughly 67 years old vines. Besides the Sporen, also an Alsace Grand Cru, I cannot think of a better Gewurztraminer vineyard in the world than the Hengst; the combination of marly-limestone soils and old massal selections of high quality Gewurztraminer (no more clones in this vineyard) makes for absolute magic. All those who don’t like Gewurz or who criticize it for its excessive varietal expression (excessive in their minds, that is), need to taste a good Zind Humbrecht Gewuzrtraminer Hengst wine at least once in their life, to see what they’re missing out on. I only wish producers would keep that in mind before starting to plant more and more Pinot Noir in this grand cru. Yes, the Hengst is a good site for Pinot Noir too, but to be clear, there’s no comparison between Hengst Pinot Noir wines (even though right now they’re very “in” and so, human nature being what it is, everyone is now jumping on the bandwagon) and Hengst Gewurztraminer wines. It’s not even close. Drinking window: 2026-2047.

2017 Gewurztraminer Clos Saint-Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru Alsace            93

Luminous golden-yellow. Knockout nose that is far more open than that of Zind Humbrecht’s 2017 Gewurztraminer Hengst, neatly combining floral and honeyed elements, with hints of rosewater, grapefruit, vanilla and nutmeg really exploding from the glass. Then more honey in the mouth, boasting a piercing complexity of orange, tangerine, lemon ice, grilled bacon, smoked meat and sweet spice flavours. Lingers impressively on the beautiful, slightly passerillé finish, that features a bit more residual sugar (26 g/L r.s.) than is usual for this wine (a signature of the 2017 vintage) but good balancing acidity (4.2 g/L total acidity and 3.65 pH) that provides more than enough lift and verve. Drinking window: 2026-2047


Ian D'Agata

赏源葡萄酒评论 Terroir Sense Wine Review主编
赏源风土研究院Terroir Sense Academy院长
知味 TasteSpirit 首席科学家

伊安·达加塔在葡萄酒领域耕耘超过30年,在葡萄酒品评、葡萄酒科研写作和葡萄酒教育等方面,都取得了杰出的成果,在葡萄酒行业和葡萄酒爱好者中,享有世界性声望。作为享誉国际的葡萄酒作家,他最近的两本著作《意大利原生葡萄品种》《意大利原生葡萄品种风土》被公认为意大利葡萄酒领域的权威著作;前者荣获2015年Louis Roederer国际葡萄酒作家大奖赛“年度最佳书籍奖”,他是唯一获此殊荣的意大利葡萄酒作家,并入选《洛杉矶时报》、《金融时报》、《纽约时报》评选的“年度葡萄酒书籍”榜单;后者被《纽约时报》和美国的Food & Wine杂志提名为年度最佳葡萄酒书籍。



Ian D'Agata