Like Chasselas, Sylvaner does not take kindly to the bottling process, and is best drunk straight from the vat, but every now and then a wine like Bursin’s 2002 comes along.
Alsace Sylvaner 2002 Bursin Agathe (€7.80)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. This was grown on the Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé. It is one of the freshest, most exciting, dry tasting (despite 14g/l residual sugar) Sylvaners I’ve ever come across, with its unusually ripe, yet light and refreshing fruit.
Alsace Sylvaner SGN 2000 Landmann Seppi (€150)
The colour of an authentic old oloroso, liquorous without being too oil-like, with very sweet concentrated raisined fruit flavour.
Alsace Sylvaner Caprice 2001 Simonis Rene (€7.75)
Fresh, concentrated aroma, very rich, Passerillé fruit on palate, but needs a lift on the finish.
Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner El Diablo SGN 2000 Seltz Albert Et Fils (€38.24)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Sorry to be a killjoy, but this Sylvaner with its astonishing 100g/l residual sugar is not in the same class as the late-harvest Sylvaner that Angelo Puglisi can achieve year in Queensland’s Granite Belt, simply by cane-cutting.
Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner Mon école Buissonnière SGN 2000 Seltz Albert Et Fils
Soil: marno-calcaire. Another Sylvaner with 100g/l of residual sugar, but the sweetness tastes burnt. These two wines from Albert Seltz, and La Colline aux Poiriers below, illustrate why Sylvaner is not authorised for either VT or SGN, although this is not to say that growers should not strive for that one-off, very special late-harvest Sylvaner that can and does happen, especially on the grand cru Zotzenberg. But between the lucky strikes, we are going to get a lot of disappointing oddities like this. If the grower values his reputation, I’m not sure that he should even sell it, let alone at such a high price that it raises expectations.
Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner La Colline Aux Poiriers VT 2001 Seltz Albert Et Fils (€18)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Apple puree nose, and very rich on palate (50g/l residual sugar), but lacks freshness.
Alsace Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 1997 Koehly Jean-Marie (€5.50)
Fresh for a 6 year Sylvaner that has been made in a old typically light and dry style. Must have seen better days.
Alsace Sylvaner Clos St Landelin 2001 Mure Rene
Too toasty and aldehydic. Lacks so much freshness, purity and finesse on the nose that I didn’t want to taste it!
Classic blends are coming back into vogue. Although pure varietal wines date back to the 15th century in Alsace, they were the exception, not the norm, until the 1920s, when an ambitious young generation of growers came up with the idea of marketing Alsace on concept of varietal wines made from noble grapes. As in much of the rest of France, the oldest vineyards were planted in plots of mixed varieties, which would be harvested, pressed and fermented in mixed lots. Indeed, so widespread were blended wines or Zwicker in Alsace that the designation of Edelzwicker, or ‘noble blend’, was introduced to distinguish the classic blends from the more commonplace wines.
Unfortunately greed got the better of Alsace producers, and so-called Edelzwicker became the norm. So much so, that many producers are reluctant to use the name today. Perhaps the best known classic blend in Alsace is Ammerschwihr’s Kaefferkopf, which is usually dominated by Gewurztraminer, although it can be made from one or more of five different varieties (Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc). There are, however, other, older blended wines. For example, Riquewihr’s grand cru Sporen was originally famous for Sporen Gentil, a classic assemblage dating back to the 16th century, while in Ribeauvillé, the Clos du Schlossberg has traditionally been fermented from a melange of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat since at least 1610. Another one of Ribeauvillé’s historic blends is Clos du Zahnacker, which is situated adjacent to Osterberg on the Côte de Ribeauvillé, and has been known for its blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling & Gewurztraminer since 1673.
Outside the traditional houses, one of the earliest revivalists was Marc Kreydenweiss, who made Clos du Val d’Eléon, his first classic blend (70% Riesling, 30% Pinot Gris) in 1990. Since then, of course, more famous names have jumped on the bandwagon.
Alsace Le Grand Vin De Schoenenbourg 2000 Deiss Marcel (€59)
Soil: marno-sableux gypseux. Pale gold, and very sweet indeed, with rich, tangy-creamy fruit. A brilliant foie gras wine.
See all Deiss Schoenenbourg stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Altenberg De Bergheim Assemblage 2000 Deiss Marcel (€57)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Golden colour, very sweet. Another beautifully expressive foie gras wine.
See all Deiss Altenberg stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Kaefferkopf 2002 Freyburger Marcel (€7.70)
A luscious, medium-sweet, budget version of Deiss’s Schoenenbourg from the soon to be grand cru of Kaefferkopf. [Note added after crib sheet revealed identity and price: what amazing value!]
Alsace Nv Einhart (€6.50)
A Muscat-dominated blend that has fresh, clean fruit, but little else to mark it out. Ideal carafe wine. [Note added after crib sheet revealed identity: 70% Muscat, 10% Gewurztraminer, 10% Auxerrois, 5% Riesling.]
Alsace 2001 Kuhlmann Frederic (€5)
Alsace 2001 Stentz-Buecher (€8)
Too aldehydic and coconutty-oaky, but has interesting fruit underneath. Hopefully future vintages will have far less (and possibly different) oak contact, and a far less oxidative style.
Alsace Cuvée Du Banni 2000 Fritsch Romain (€6.85)
Grown, unusually for Alsace, on the Lyre system, but no indication of grape varieties, although tastes unimpressively like rubbery Riesling and Pinot Gris.
Alsace 2001 Kuentz-Bas (€4.90)
Okay on palate, but could be fresher on nose.
Alsace Clos Du Val D’eléon 2000 Kreydenweiss Marc (€15)
Starting to break-up. Catches on back of throat. Unclean, almost napthalene-like.
Less than 20 years ago, it was impossible to find a dry Muscat that came anywhere near rivalling Muscat d’Alsace. Now there are a few. Not many and scattered in origin, but they exist. Nevertheless, Alsace remains the only region to have a widespread reputation built on this variety (be it Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains, Muscat Rosé à Petit Grains or Muscat Ottonel) and is beginning to build a name for late-harvest renditions. Some of the SGN are disgusting, but VT and SGN Muscat are a relatively recent phenomenon, and most of the earliest examples were just as bad. Furthermore, the number of successes in these styles is greater than I have experienced before, demonstrating that winemakers are learning from their mistakes.
In a totally dry style, Muscat d’Alsace can be challenging, since its naturally low acidity makes it very difficult for a wine to possess any richness of fruit. However, a few growers, such as Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, regularly achieve exceptionally high, natural acidity levels in the Muscats they grow.
Alsace Muscat VT 2001 Bernhard Jean-Marc & Frederic (€18)
A late-harvest muscat of exceptional finesse and beautiful botrytised complexity.
Alsace Grand Cru Goldert Muscat 2002 Zind-Humbrecht (€30)
A pale, but slightly deeper colour than most, with fine floral aromas, and hints of peach and orange in the very expressive potpourri of fruit on palate. The exceptional acidity made it obvious that this was a zind-humbrecht wine, despite the blind tasting format.
Alsace Muscat SGN 2001 Bleger Claude (€20)
Orange-gold colour. Extremely bright. Best acidity-fruit balance. Crisp, complex and very sweet, with a long, clean finish.
Alsace Muscat SGN 2000 Engel Fernand Et Fils (€32)
Has one of the best fruit-acidity balances of all the muscat sgns. Very rich, concentrated fruit.
Alsace Grand Cru Steinklotz Muscat SGN 1997 Fritsch Romain (€45.75)
soil: calcaire. Intense muscat aroma, with exceptionally rich and tangy, varietal fruit. Does not cloy. Very sweet.
Alsace Muscat SGN 2000 Barmes-Buecher (€68)
Bright tangerine in colour, with fresh muscat aromas, and as viscous as oil in the mouth. This wine is ridiculously sweet for its low acidity, but it is an amazing wine nonetheless.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Beyer Emile (€5.50)
Pale-straw colour, but slightly deeper than most, with fine floral aromas, followed by very fresh muscat fruit on palate. Classic dry style. Fine quality.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Buecher Paul (€7.10)
The soapy-floral aromas should develop into a more complex bouquet devoid of soapiness over the next 12-24 months. Although only medium-sweet, that is relatively sweet for a generic muscat, and it actually tastes three times as sweet as etienne loew’s muscat below, despite containing just one gram extra of residual sugar. Although it would be a much better wine with higher acidity, there is sufficient richness and vitality to win through.
Alsace Grand Cru Marckrain Muscat 2002 Fonne Michel (€10)
soil: marno-calcaire. Light-floral aromas. Medium-sweet, flowery fruit. Good balancing acidity. Nice and fresh.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Ginglinger Pierre Henri (€5.80)
Fuller, firmer style of floral muscat, yet does not lack a certain elegance, and tastes a lot drier than its proclaimed 7.4g/l residual sugar. Dry. Well balanced.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Koehly Jean-Marie (€5.80)
Attractive, elegant, expressively floral muscat.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Meyer Alfred Et Fils (€5.50)
Fresh, floral aromas; delicious, easy-drinking floral-muscat fruit. Over 5g/l but effectively tastes dry.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Rentz Edmond (€6.30)
Fresh floral aromas; soft flowery fruit, creamy-soft finish. Dry.
Alsace Muscat Clos St Landelin SGN 2001 Mure Rene
Almost samos muscat nose and initial fruit, this light-gold coloured sgn suffers from a lack of acidity, and although that is normal for the variety, an sgn is supposed to be exceptional, and should increase in acidity through dehydration or botrytis.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Beck Francis (€4.70)
Definitely more for the table (with asparagus) than an aperitif in style, but could be more varietally expressive. Off-dry to medium-dry.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Dirler-Cade (€7.80) 1st bottle: unclean. 2nd bottle: fresh and flowery, but a dry, low-acid wine such as muscat needs more fruit impact on the finish to rise above the norm.
Alsace Muscat Altenbourg SGN 2000 Mann Albert (€45)
The palest of the muscat sgns, this pale-gold coloured wine has fresh floral aromas and intensely sweet, muscat fruit on the palate. However, the aftertaste is a bit sugary and cloying.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Stentz Andre (€6.90)
Nice and floral, with grape-skin muscat fruit on the palate. Creamy finish. A crossover between table and aperitif. Medium-dry.
Alsace Muscat Lieu-Dit Dorfburg 2002 Cave Vinicole Jean Geiler (€5.40)
Fuller grape-skin-muscat aroma, but rather basic aromas. Could develop, but very few muscat do, thus scored on today’s performance.
alsace grand cru froehn muscat 2002 becker j.phil. & francois (€10.30)
soil: argilo-marneux. Light, dry, with a little floweriness on the finish.
Alsace Muscat Les Marnes Vertes 2002 Loew Etienne (€6.70)
Rich, and not as sweet as its 8g/l residual sugar would suggest, but lacks freshness and vitality.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Schoech Maurice Et Fils (€8.50)
Correct, but not expressive.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Simmler Nicolas (€7.20)
Good acidity, but herbaceous, and not varietally expressive.
Alsace Muscat Belle Saison 2002 Cave Vinicole-Wolfberger (€4.80)
Fresh, floral aromas. Lacks vitality and expressiveness on palate. Dry. Basic.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Stentz Fernand (€6.50)
Freshness spoilt by malolactic aromas. Medium-dry soapy fruit.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Stoeffler Vincent (€5.80)
An elderflower aroma suggests to me that it will develop a more offensive cat’s-pee smell.
Alsace Muscat 2002 Zusslin Valentin Et Fils (€10.40)
Slightly deeper colour than most. Medium-dry, grape-skin aromas on nose become soapy-grape-skin on palate. Finish out of kilter. Not well balanced.
Alsace Grand Cru Froehn Muscat SGN 1988 Becker Jean
Soil: argilo-marneux It is impossible to taste this wine blind. As soon as I saw the category (Muscat, SGN, 1988), I knew exactly what it was because Becker’s 1988 was the very first Muscat SGN ever produced. It could not have been anything else. It was also the perfect illustration of why Muscat should not be cellared because although this was a truly exceptional wine (each grape was picked with an escargot fork!), it is now so off-putting on the nose that my brain rebelled at the thought of actually putting it inside my body. I refuse to score the wine. This is an emotional reaction, and I refer readers to page 327 and 359 of The Wines of Alsace to discover why.
Although some producers had problems with this variety in 2002, many did not. Generally, Alsace Gewürztraminer requires 3-4 years in bottle to build up the spiciness of its terpene-laden aromas, but this process is evolving much earlier in the 2002s. This is strange for a year in which the wines possess significantly higher acidity than normal, as one would expect this to retard development, not speed it up.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Wintzenheim 2002 Zind-Humbrecht (€26)
A deeper, more golden colour than many of the 2002 Gewürztraminers that are much lighter and much sweeter (and thus probably chaptalised), with an outstanding varietal aroma; big, rich, overripe fruit, and an alcohol-phenolic balance that should assure long life. [I was astonished later to discover this wine had a natural alcoholic strength of 15.9%! This is a blend made from younger vines from the Hengst vineyards and a very old vineyard located in Wintzenheim, on a gravely soil similar to the Herrenweg.] See all Zind-Humbrecht Wintzenheim stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Gewürztraminer VT 1990 Beyer Leon (€17)
Mature Gewürztraminer is rarely commercially available, particularly when it has aged so gracefully, with the potential to improve further over the next 5-10 years.
See all Beyer Gewürztraminer VT stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Grand Cru Kanzlerberg Gewürztraminer VT 2001 Freyburger Louis Et Fils Sarl (€24)
Soil: argilo-marneux-gyp. Huge, rich, and intensely sweet. Not sugary, but so dominated by sweetness that I doubt it will start to show its true spice-laden colours for at least a decade.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Trimbach
How does a standard Gewürztraminer achieve a much higher score. Firstly because it is world class in quality, and secondly, paradoxically, because the Gewürztraminer in 2002 was not good enough to provide either a Reserve or the top-of-the-range Seigneurs de Ribeauvillé, those two wines were effectively blended into the basic Gewürztraminer, making it not very basic at all!
Alsace Gewürztraminer Vieilles Vignes 2002 Humbrecht Georges Et Claude (€6.70)
It’s extraordinary how such beautifully broad spice aromas can develop in a wine with such exceptionally high acidity. Semi-sweet fruit balanced by a lovely, drying, alcohol-phenolic finish. Amazing quality-price ratio.
Alsace Grand Cru Pfingstberg Gewürztraminer 2002 Schmitt Francois (€7.70)
Soil: marno-calcaro-gréseux. From the information supplied this is not a VT [from the price I later found on the crib sheet, I sincerely doubt that it can be], but if a non-VT Gewürztraminer is going to be sweet, then this is how to do it, with a wonderfully elegant balance of richness and fruit. Amazing quality-price ratio.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Stoffel Antoine (€6.10)
Nice broad spices considering the exceptional acidity. Great concentration. Dry (despite 10g/l residual sugar). Another incredible bargain wine.
Alsace Grand Cru Pfersigberg Gewürztraminer 2002 Sorg Bruno (€12)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. Fresh, elegant fruit. Lovely acidity. Will age graceful, with fruit dominating palate, and spice slowly building on finish.
Alsace Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle Gewürztraminer 2002 Boesch Leon-Domaine (€14.20)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. Deeper in colour, richer and sweeter than wine number 247 [which turned out to be Allimant-Laugner’s 2002 Gewürztraminer], despite both claiming to have the same residual sugar (24g/l). Lovely spicy-phenolics building on finish.
See all Boesch Zinnkoepfle stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Grand Cru Eichberg Gewürztraminer 1990 Hertz Albert
Soil: marno-calcaire. This wine illustrates how low-acid, high-pH Gewürztraminer ages gracefully, with the alcohol and phenolics replacing acidity’s role in providing length.
Alsace Grand Cru Altenberg De Bergheim Gewürztraminer 2002 Lorentz Gustave (€17.60)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Classy aromatics. Will attain great spice, despite well above average acidity.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Mader Jean-Luc (€6.50)
At the moment there’s a hole in the mid-palate and a cliff on the finish, but the great potential spice in the aroma, and persistent aftertaste (despite lacking an initial finish) are guarantee enough for me. This is going to be a great wine.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 1997 Meyer Pierre Et Fils (€9.10)
A rich and very sweet wine balanced by alcohol, phenolics, and powerful apricot-spice bottle aromas that are only just starting to build.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Cuvée Anne SGN 2000 Schlumberger (€55.85)
Succulent crystallised fruit aromas, with spice already building on the palate. Sweet to very sweet.
Alsace Gewürztraminer SGN 1994 Ginglinger Paul (€60)
Apricot-skin aromas, very sweet and liquorous, amazingly youthful for a 9 year old wine.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Les Folastries 2002 Josmeyer & Fils Sa (€14.10)
Great potential spice, exceptional acidity. Alcohol and phenolics provide a searing sensation to its off-dry finish.
See all Josmeyer Folastries stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Ginglinger Jean (€7.80)
Best truly dry 2002 Gewürztraminer tasted. Spice already apparent, perfumed spice aftertaste. Distinctly dry. Tingly phenolics on the finish.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Allimant-Laugner (€5.70)
An elegantly rich, medium-sweet style with lovely, fresh fruit and attractive spice development on nose and palate.
See all Allimant-Laugner stockists on wine-searcher.com.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Cuvée Ste Gertrude 2002 Buecher-Fix (€6.40)
Nice gold colour. Very sweet, it tastes beyond VT and beyond its claimed 30g/l. The apricot-skin character indicates potential spice, but will take time to build-up these bottle-aromas.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Cave Vinicole-Wolfberger (€5.60)
Ripe banana aromas tell me that this wine will develop big, broad spicy bottle-aromas, but it needs ageing at least 4 years.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Cuvée Ste Marguerite 2002 Cave Vinicole Jean Geiler (€8.50)
This surpasses many a VT, and will need at least 4-5 years for the spice to penetrate the richness of fruit. Very sweet (48g/l).
Alsace Gewürztraminer SGN 1997 Zink Pierre Paul (€25.30)
Phenolics and alcohol provide classic length, and balance the sweetness. Spices building nicely.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Fronholz 2002 Beck Francis (€6.20)
A beautifully light rendition, with an elegant richness of fruit and spice just beginning to build.
Alsace Grand Cru Kitterle Gewürztraminer 2002 Dirler-Cade (€14.50)
Soil: gréseux-volcanique. Classic combination of alcohol, phenolics and varietal power. Sweet.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Clos Du Letzenberg 2002 Domaine Du Manoir-Thomann Marina (€7)
1st bottle: corked. 2nd bottle: clean, with lovely broad spice aromas beginning to emerge on both nose and palate. Rich and creamy.
Alsace Grand Cru Gloeckelberg Gewürztraminer 1997 Koehly Charles Et Fils (€12)
Soil: granite-argilifié. Big spicy aroma, with Gewürztraminer fruit maturing nicely. Good finish.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Cuvée St Hubert 2002 Kuehn (€7.50)
Light in colour and extraordinarily sweet for 25g/l residual sugar, but rich rather than sugary.
Alsace Grand Cru Pfersigberg Gewürztraminer VT 1997 Kuentz-Bas (€27)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. Very rich and intensely sweet, yet elegantly balanced, and still needs time to show true spicy potential.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Kaefferkopf Cuvée Catherine 2000 Schaetzel Martin (€13.50)
Very sweet, with apricot-lychee fruit. Probably another 5 years before the true spicy potential of this wine is revealed.
Alsace Grand Cru Florimont Gewürztraminer 2002 Bohn Francois (€10.50)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Lovely broad spice. Touch of green fruit (it’s not a green year!), but not too much, and unimportant at this stage, as it is mingling with cinnamon on finish. Good acidity. Medium-sweet at least.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Fronenberg 1995 Hertz Victor (€20)
Big, toasty-spicy aromas on nose, but still needs a year or two to integrate with alcohol on the finish.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Réserve 2002 Jux (€5.90)
Relatively dry for a Gewürztraminer, with broad spices starting to peep through.
ALSACE GRAND CRU MANDELBERG Gewürztraminer 2002 MAULER JEAN-PAUL (€8.50)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Elegantly rich, with precocious spice and promises of more to come. Fresh. Sweet.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Kopfacker 2002 Ginglinger Jean (€21)
Enormous sweetness, the equivalent of top-end VT, or lower-end SGN, although not submitted as such. The fruit has a green edge, which is out of place in such a sweet wine. If the grapes had been more selectively picked or better sorted at the harvest, this could have scored in the 90s.
Alsace Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle Gewürztraminer L’esprit SGN 2000 Haag Jean-Marie (€60)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. Broad spice aromas, creamy-viscous fruit. Very sweet.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Klee Freres
Grape-skin aromas, very rich and very young.
Alsace Gewürztraminer SGN 1989 Lorentz Gustave (€43.15)
This mature SGN is sweet, but not intensely sweet. Indeed, it is dry by Gewürztraminer SGN standards today, although par for the course in 1989.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Kaefferkopf 2002 Schoech Maurice Et Fils (€9)
Hint of geraniums, deliciously sweet, high acids.
Alsace Grand Cru Kirchberg De Barr Gewürztraminer Clos Gaensbroennel 2002 Hering Domaine (€13)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Sweet broad spice aromas and exotic fruits on palate.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Kaefferkopf 1997 Adam J-B (€18)
The spicy aromas are powerful, but not classic, having been narrowed/tightened by relatively low pH.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Altenbourg Cuvée Laurence 2002 Domaine Weinbach-Faller (€40)
Apricot-skins on nose and very sweet (53g/l) crystallised fruit on palate. Hints of marmalade.
Alsace Grand Cru Mambourg Gewürztraminer 2002 Sparr Pierre Et Ses Fils (€12)
Beautifully fresh on the nose, but distinct hints of malolactic on palate. Sweet. Alcohol showing on finish.
Alsace Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle Gewürztraminer 2002 Bursin Agathe (€12.20)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. Very fresh, and certainly as sweet as its 27g/l of residual sugar suggests, but light in colour and weight for this level of sweetness, and lacking the power of overripe grapes. Otherwise, technically sound.
alsace Gewürztraminer kritt 2002 schwartz j.l. (€7.20)
Another very fresh wine that is as sweet as its 25g/l of residual sugar suggests, but light in colour and weight for this level of sweetness, and lacking the power of overripe grapes. Otherwise, technically sound.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Vieilles Vignes 2002 Sipp-Mack (€9.20)
Lacks the concentration, complexity and finesse expected from truly old vines.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Brobecker (€6.20)
Similar in richness and style to 252 [Jean-Paul Mauler’s 2002 Grand Cru Mandelberg], but without the precocious spice, or as much freshness and finesse.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Cuvée Bacchus 2002 Cave Vinicole Pfaffenheim-Gueberschwihr (€7.15)
Perhaps the spice will evolve to fill the gap between alcohol and sweetness, but at the moment it appears not to have sufficient concentration.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Altengarten 2001 Hausherr Hubert Et Heidi (€8)
1st bottle: colour lacks spark, nose maderised. 2nd bottle: not maderised, but difficult to see what the fuss is about for a wine that has been submitted under the category for “Anything unique, unusual or different. Must be stunning!” Err … no, it’s not stunning. It’s a dry Gewürztraminer of acceptable, but not exceptional, quality.
Alsace Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg Gewürztraminer 1998 Klur Clement (€13.60)
Soil: granitique. Sweet, starting to build spicy bottle-aromas, but finish cloys.
Alsace Gewürztraminer SGN 1998 Boesch Leon-Domaine (€47)
Deep old-gold colour, full botrytised nose, with soft, creamy fruit on the palate, and some spices emerging on the aftertaste. Quite viscous and a bit cloying.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Affenberg 2002 Heywang Jean Et Hubert (€6)
Alsace Gewürztraminer SGN 1998 Baumann-Zirgel (€29)
Old-gold colour, and quite viscous, very rich, not enough acidity. Intensely sweet. Cloying.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Clos Château Isenbourg 2002 Chateaux & Terroirs (€12.85)
Not bad, but not special.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Lieu-Dit Letzenberg 2002 Schoech Albert (€6.10)
Very rich, but could have more freshness and zip.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Sipp Louis (€6.60)
Light, fresh, and nowhere near as sweet as its 21g/l of residual sugar would suggest, but at this level, it lacks weight and substance.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Scherb Louis Et Fils (€5.60)
Lacking in weight for this level of sugar.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 1999 Auther-Domaine
Off-dry, acidity balance askew.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Cave Vinicole De Ribeauville Et Environs (€6.49)
Not enough concentration for the alcohol and sweetness.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Les Sorcières 2002 Dopff-Irion (€10.55)
Too sweet for its weight, with no overripe fruit character to justify the sweetness.
Alsace Grand Cru Gloeckelberg Gewürztraminer VT 2001 Freyburger Louis Et Fils Sarl (€24)
Soil: granite-argilifié. Intensely sweet, but sugary on finish, and lacks definition both in colour and on nose.
Alsace Gewürztraminer 2002 Weber Odile Et Danielle (€7.30)
What on earth is malolactic doing on a Gewürztraminer? Particularly this level.
Alsace Grand Cru Furstentum Gewürztraminer VT 1997 Blanck Andre Et Fils (€15.30)
Soil: calcaire. Deep colour, with mature fruit on the nose and rich, sugary-sweetness on the palate, this wine is near its peak, but has not developed spice or mellowed in sweetness.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Jubilee 2002 Hugel Et Fils (€19.44)
Lacks freshness and finesse.
Alsace Gewürztraminer Sigille Confrérie St-Etienne 1996 Bernhard Jean-Marc & Frederic (€6.40)
Alsace Gewürztraminer “O” Collection Personelle 1997 Wantz Charles (€13.40)
Klevener de Heiligenstein
Apparently a pink variant of the Savagnin, which is found in the Jura, but in Alsace the Klevener (with three “e”s, Klevner with two “e”s being a local synonym for Pinot) has a varietal character akin to a very discreet Gewürztraminer. This grape is restricted to certain vineyards in Heiligenstein and the surrounding villages of Bourgheim, Gertwiller, Goxwiller, and Obernai.
It is fine have discreet characteristics, but there should also be finesse and length. Unfortunately these wines seldom aspire to anything greater than an acceptable quality level.
Alsace Klevener De Heiligenstein Cuvée Particulière 2001 Heywang Jean Et Hubert (€8)
Light, fresh, easy drinking, with typically muted spice on the finish.
Alsace Klevener De Heiligenstein Cuvée Des Hospices De Strasbourg 2000 Wantz Charles (€12.90)
A slightly richer, fuller version of above.