Alsace Roundup – 20 Wines Tasted

The annual showcase for Alsace wines called Alsace Millésimes happened virtually this year. Small 30ml sample bottles were sent out for tasting, having been decanted from full bottles. I have found such small bottles can present the wines perfectly well, but have a limited shelf life. As the samples arrived shortly before I went on holiday for two weeks I wanted to taste them straight away, so rather than my full tasting notes, these are brief impressions on the five estates whose wines I received.

The Estates and Wines

Domaine Achillée

A biodynamic estate run by the Dietrich family, they grow all of the Alsatian grape varieties, on a great variety of soils. Their eco-winery is built from straw and wood with no heating or cooling. The wines are not currently imported into the UK.

Domaine Achillée, Riesling Eveil des Sens 2019
Bergamot, lemon and a sherbetty purity on the nose. Dry, juicy and incisive, a lovely Riesling this with very juicy fruit and a pristine acid finish. 92/100

Domaine Achillée, Riesling Schieferberg 2018
More mealy, mineral and developed, a touch of umami-like meatiness. Sweet fruit powers through the palate, intense and zippy acids too. Stylish, concentrated. 92/100

Domaine Achillée, Gewurztraminer Scherwiller 2018
Very high, geranium leaf and intensely powerful nose, quite unusual with a distinctly herbal quality. Some sweetness, lots of peachy fruit and good acid. For many, a love it or hate it style. 89/100

Domaine Achillée, Pinot Noir Rittersberg Granite 2018
Meaty and chocolaty, dense and earthy, meat-stock interpretation of Pinot. Sweet fruit and density again on the palate, generous tannins and keen acid add an edge. 88/100

Domaine Stentz Buecher

Domaine Stentz-Buecher is an organic-certified estate located in Wettolsheim (5km from Colmar). Today, Stéphane and Céline have taken over from their parents in the company. The wines are imported into the UK by

Domaine Stentz Buecher, Riesling Ortel 2018
Subtle, lightly creamy apple notes, a touch of background waxiness. Dry, plenty of pithy lemon and grapefruit, but there is a mid-palate peachiness before a citrussy finish. 90/100

Domaine Stentz Buecher, Riesling Cuvée Flavien 2016
Developed, slightly figgy and honeyed character, some spice and wax. The palate has some sweetness, mouthfilling and ripe, but a pithy, dry citrus axis drives the finish. 91/100

Domaine Stentz Buecher, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2019
Lots of luscious suggestions here, honey and nectarine, exotic mango notes too. On the palate a vivacious quality, bursting with fruit and pert acidity, a little salts and minerals. Very tangy grapefruit finish. 93/100

Domaine Stentz Buecher, Pinot Noir Granit 2017
Very meaty and leathery, lots of spices and a vaguely medicinal quality. On the palate a dense and plummy style, a touch of roasted cocoa bean, freshening acids. 87/100

Cave de Turckheim

This historic and very high quality co-operative cellar has access to some great terroirs, and has over 65 years of farming on the slopes of Turckheim and its surroundings. The wines are imported into the UK by

Cave de Turckheim, Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2017
Gorgeous nose her, honeyed and peachy, flecked with floral notes and with a sense of buttery roundness. On the palate a little sweetness, but pin sharp lemon acidity easily slices through quite opulent flavour and texture. 94/100

Cave de Turckheim, Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg 2017
A fuller, slightly earthier character than the Brand, a little toast as well as that figgy richness. Lovely palate, slightly more sweet than the Brand due to less striking acidity, but absolutely delicious nectarine and orange stuff. 93/100

Cave de Turckheim, Pinot Noir 2017
Some nice spices and wild garrigue herbs, sweet cherry fruit. Not trying too hard and a nicely balanced, fruity Pinot with high quaffability quotient. 87/100

Cave de Turckheim, Gewurztraminer Vieilles Vignes 2016
Classically perfumed Gewurz, with lychee and rose petal, elegant mango fruitiness. Plenty of sweetness in this wine, medium-sweet with abundant fruit and a pithy, grapefruit blast of acidity. 90/100

Domaine Bruno Sorg

Created in 1965 by Bruno and Renée Sorg, today their son François runs the business with his wife and their son. The domain covers 12 hectares including three Grands Crus. The wines are imported into the UK by

Domaine Bruno Sorg, Riesling Grand Cru Pfersigberg 2017
Quite a subtle nose here – no aromatic fireworks on this wine – straightforward lemons and apples, though refreshing with good acidity and nice texture. A stealth Riesling of good quality. 89/100

Domaine Bruno Sorg, Riesling Grand Cru Florimont 2017
More candle wax and minerality on the nose than the Pfersigberg, the palate more vivacious too, a bright, oranges and lemons punch of vibrant citrus, the finish long and saline. 92/100

Domaine Bruno Sorg, Pinot Gris Grand Cru Pfersigberg 2016
Back to a reticent, subtle aromatic profile, perhaps a characteristic of Pfersigberg? The palate lean and linear, saltiness and lemons are nice, if rather straighforward. 88/100

Domaine Bruno Sorg, Pinot Noir 2017
Quite elegant, less leathery and more perfumed than some examples here. Fragrant oak and cherry/spicy fruit, balanced into a spicy and tangy finish with good acids and sandy tannins. 90/100

Famille Hauller

The Hauller family have farmed here for eight generations. The vineyards now in organic conversion, Ludovic and Guillaume Hauller are today’s custodians of the domaine. The wines are not currently imported into the UK.

Famille Hauller, Riesling 2018
Fairly neutral nose, the palate correct with quite intense juicy apples and lemons, a thrusting core of citrus acidity driving quite a long finish. 89/100

Famille Hauller, Riesling Grand Cru Winzenberg 2019
A very peachy, nectarine juicy style, a little lick of lime zest to sharpen. On the palate plenty of acidity, a real pithy lemon and salts drive to this, sweeping through the peachiness of the opening attack. 91/100

Famille Hauller, Riesling Grand Cru Frankstein 2018
This time a combination of juicy, fat lemon and peach, a touch of waxiness. The palate is a touch broader than the Winzenberg 2019, but still has that concentrated citrus core and salty finish. 91/100

Famille Hauller, Pinot Noir ‘F’ 2017
My guess is this comes from the Frankstein, but Pinot Noir is not allowed Grand Cru status in Alsace. Sweet cherries, cola and plenty of coffeeish oak. The palate dry, with drying tannins, good acid, perhaps the fruit a little overpowered. 88/00

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