Tasting the wines of biodynamic Alsace

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Alsace. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: The biodynamic producers of Alsace.


Zind-Humbrecht

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Zind 2004
Chardonnay, Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc sometimes. Rich, leesy, peach and apricot notes. Some notes of green fig. Broad orange and lemon pith fruit and acid character. Much drier and much more crisp and grapefruity that the nose suggests. Delicious, mouth-wateringly dry. Waitrose. Indice 1

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Zind 2003
In Waitrose currently. Lovely honeyed notes have developed, with a nectarine and very juicy quality. Beautifully sweet edge to the fruit, lots of orange and marmalady tang, lovely length and sweetness comes through in finish, Indice 2 and a very different wine from this hugely ripe vintage.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Gueberscwihr 2004
Lovely nutty Cox’s Pippin character. Nice note of petrolly background. Very dry on the palate, with very grapefruity dry acidity, but the sweetness of the fruit balances. Lovely, richly textured wine. Indice 1.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Turckheim 2004
Made from vines in mostly Brand vineyard, but vines less than 25 years old. Intense minerality here, with a background of lovely honey and smoky notes, some hints of flowers. Palate has a stony, firm minerality, and a lot of orangy, tangy orange pith fruit flavours. There’s a tiny note of saltiness too, in a complex wine. Indice 1.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2004
Gravelly soils right outside winery. There’s a dryness and minerality here, with an intensely dry palate of underripe pear and lemon fruit. Very racy, with masses of lemony acidity. Indice 1.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Clos Häuserer 2004
Marl Limestone soil, 30 years old at bottom of Hengst vineyard. Some herbal complexity here, with a touch of nettle and an underlying sense of richness. Some hints of sweeter, riper, nectarine skins. The palate here is immensely salty, pithy and dry, with a rich, very powerful texture that adds flesh and juiciness. Lots of tangy, juicy orange acidity but that minerality and complexity with little spice and tea notes continues. Indice 1.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Clos St Urbain Rangen de Thann 2004
Fantastic honeyed, slightly figgy richness and opulence. A real flinty, schisty minerality too. Lovely complexity. On the palate this is tight and mineral. Here is a mass of grapefruity, dry and tight fruit and acidity at this stage. That herbal character comes through, in a long, ever-changing complex finish that is bone dry, but somehow hints at that honeyed richness beneath. Needs time. Indice 1.

Zind-Humbrecht (France) Riesling Heimbourg 2004
Beautifully honeyed and rich, with a certain lushness and a complex tea, dust and smoky character. On the palate a wonderful juiciness, with a fine, rich, apricot and peach ripeness, but that cool, fresh, very biting mineral and lime acidity counteracts 20g/l of sugar and a fine ripe quality. Beautifully balanced, tangy and delicious. Indice 2.

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Josmeyer

Josmeyer (France) Riesling Le Kotabbe 2004
Quite crisp, a little confectionery note, some lemony fruit. Very lemony and fresh on the palate, with waxy quality to the texture and flavour. This finishes very dry, with a real shock of lemon pith quality. Very much a food wine, but deliciously succulent and really quite long.

Josmeyer (France) Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2004
Very closed and tight at present, with a shimmering mineral quality at the core. A really austere wine on the palate at the present, with a very precise, pure, linear style from start to finish, shot through with nervous minerality. There’s a hint of lime and waxiness, but this is a real Jesuit’s wine, with a shimmering limpid quality that Christopher says will mellow slightly with time, but is a characteristic of the vineyard.

Josmeyer (France) Riesling Grand Cru Hengst 2000
Hengst = Stallion in Alsacien dialect, probably the horses that worked the vineyards. Lovely developed wax and light paraffin notes, with a lovely floral background and a peach down character. Delightfully light and shimmering quality to this wine, with a definite off-dry sweetness at first, but the richness and waxy weight is cut through with fine grapefruity acidity.

Josmeyer (France) Riesling Grand Cru Hengst 2003
A rather less expressive nose, with a lightly spicy, waxy nose and just small floral hints, but much less expressive. The palate has excellent acidity (all natural) with a much more lemony, slightly rasping quality at present, but Christophe is certain this will be a keeper. Fine sour plum and lemon fruit and lovely length.

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Domaine Jean Becker

Jean Becker (Franc) Pinot Blanc 2002
Lovely round, limpid quality with a floral and spicy fragrance and a sense of opulence. There is plenty of pear and apple fruit. On the palate plenty of power and substance to the orchard fruit flavours, and lovely lemony acidity.

Jean Becker (France) Riesling Lerchenberg 2003
Lovely expressive lemon and sherbetty nose, with a waxy presence and a nice crisp character. On the palate the acidity is good, if a little less taut and mineral than in the 2002 (tasted with lunch). Nice and clean and lemony, and surprisingly fresh for the vintage.

Jean Becker (France) Riesling Grand Cru Hagenschlauf 2003
Weightier, much ‘fatter’ quality on the nose, with a mealy richness and a creamy quality. Some herbal notes too. On the palate a nice sour grip of lemon and lime fruit at present, with quiet a rich mid-palate and a real sense of minerality into the finish. Quite grippy and skinny feeling, but with good length and just enough acidity to add freshness.

Jean Becker (France) Riesling Grand Cru Froehn 2003
Clan, crisp minerality here, with a little floral nuance and a certain waxiness. On the palate it is more racy and pithy, with very dry grapefruit character and lemon and grapefruit acidity. Good quality here, with a little more lightness but still a rich, leesy style with plenty of power.

Jean Becker (France) Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2003
A much more schisty and mineral, stony nose. Cool, pear and melon fruit that is quiet tight and focused. On the palate a touch of RS, with a rich, leesy, skin contact richness and pear skin bite. These wines are quite tough and chewy in a sense, and the touch of fruit sweetness here sits slightly uneasily against that concentrated skinny grip and dry, pithy acidity.

Jean Becker (France) Gentil 2004
Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer. Lots of spice and aromatic Gewurz qualities coming through, with lychee and old roses. On the palate rich and leesy, with a little bit of blowsy quality, but it is easy to drink, the fat, ripe fruit balanced by grippy acidity.

Jean Becker (France) Tokay-Pinot Gris 2003
Very easy nose, with creamy white fruits and lemon to the fore, with a slightly mealy English apple quality. There is quite obvious sweetness on the palate, with a back up of nectarine skin fruit and quiet a punchy, fruity mid-palate before orange and grapefruit acidity. Very attractive and easy to drink.

Jean Becker (France) Tokay-Pinot Gris Grand Cru Froehn 2001
A nice waxy, sweet nectarine note, with some guava character. Onto the palate it has a nice richness and ripeness, with a harmonious quality between a fat, rich fruit character and a lovely acid quality. Lovely smoky, bacon fat quality.

Jean Becker (France) Gewürztraminer Rimelsberg 2002
Subtle toffeed notes and relatively subdued, lightly smoky notes. On the palate it has a weight and richness, with very ripe fruit that is off-dry and attractive, and backed with a soft but fine grapefruity acidity. Quite simple, but delicious.

Jean Becker (France) Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2003
Quiet a smoky, bacon fat nose, with richness and a deep-set, nectarine fruit quality. A touch of honey and lychee fruit comes through. On the palate this is rich and mouthfilling, with a deep, skin contact richness but a nicely restrained quality too. Lovely length and good balance here.

Jean Becker (France) Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Froehn 2004
Lightness and more aromatic brightness, with crisp apple and pear, some juicy more exotic melon aromas. Off dry, with lovely sweetness and a freshness here. Fine, juicy fruit quality is quiet exotic and brightly fruity, with a big grapefruit acid structure beneath. Tension and balance here, very good.

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Cave de Ribeauville

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Allegro 2005
A Pinot Noir rosé. Gently herbal, softly rose hip fruit quality. Very dry palate, with a nice fruit quality and a real lemony, white wine dryness.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Noir Terroirs 2004
Unoaked. Quite a bright cherry fruit quality. A little bit of menthol and a bit of blackcurrant or cranberry fruit. Very dry, savoury, dry pithy quality. Racy and needs food, with a spicy note in the finish.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Noir Terroirs 2004
Oaked. There’s an overlay of vanillin and a touch of menthol, and a redcurrant, pomegranate dry red fruit quality. On the palate very dry and redcurranty again – fruity and fresh, but perhaps lacking a bit of flesh.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Andante 2005
80% Muscat with Gewurz. Sweet, ripe, waxy pear nose with plenty of floral notes. On the palate it is fresh and racy, with a nice texture and a nice off-dry quality, with lovely freshness.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Blanc VV 2004
100% pinot Blanc. Rather subdued nose, but a spiciness and gentle nectarine and peach down quality comes through,. The palate is nicely textured and has a limpid, fresh apple and pear fruit with just a hint of riper, sweet pear quality. Very nice finish that is dry and racy, with a minerality to the acidity in the finish.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Riesling Prestige 2004
Straightforward lemony nose, with a nicely fresh and racy palate, shot through with nervous, pithy lemon acidity. Very correct and dry, needs food.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Riesling Terroirs 2004
Very fresh, crisp, dry orchard fruits on the nose with an edge of minerality. Nice richness develops on the palate, with a hint of real fruit sweetness, but again shot through with acidity. A little more complexity.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Riesling Grand cru Osterberg 2004
Much more schisty, smoky, mineral scents on the nose. The palate is beautifully poised: it is bright and citrussy, but there’s a rounded, weighty character too, with a nectarine presence but superb elegance with a waxy, fresh minerality.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Gris Prestige 2005
Fine sense of richness here with an immediately attractive peach skin and sweet yellow plum fruitiness. It is just off dry, withy a rich, pure, pear fruit quality and very nice balance. Lovely commercial wine.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Gris Terroirs 2005
A certain mealiness here, with obvious richness and small honeyed notes. Very mouthfilling peachy and nectarine fruit, with a fine acidity. Extra layers of richness and sultana and juicy Muscat raisin richness.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Gris Grand Cru Gloeckelberg 2004
Very ripe and very rich and complex, with honey and a touch of pineapple. The fruit is thick and ripe, flooding the palate with succulent fruit flavours and juicy richness. But balance is fine again, with a dry acidity and touch of minerality. Long

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Clos du Zahnacker 2004
An equal blend of Riesling Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, this is very open and appealing with a concentrated, powerful character showing a lot of spice and waxy weight. The palate is mouthfilling and rich, with the Pinot Gris character dominating, but a lovely lemony finish.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Gewürztraminer Prestige 2004
Expressive nose of lychee and Nivea cream, and a gentle rose petal background. On the palate it is quite silky and smooth textured, with a sweetness and richness, but just stopped from being blowsy by very nicely judged, fresh acidity and a spicy note on the finish.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Gewürztraminer Haguenau 2004
There’s an overripe quality on the nose here, with super ripeness and a burgeoning sense of sweetness and waxy weight. On the mid palate it is soft and yielding, with a deeply layered fruit quality but nice acidity lengthens and freshens. Quite restrained for Gewurz, but lovely.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Gewürztraminer Terroirs 2005
Very smooth, elegant and delicate, with classic Gewurz aromas, but all very light and fresh. The most delicate wine of the three gewürztraminers, with a gentle mouthfilling presence, plenty of fruit, and delicate, shimmering acidity.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Pinot Gris VT 2000
There’s a huge, expressive hit of honey, smoke and lush, ripe figgy fruit. It is buttery, rich and spicy. Huge mouthfilling wine, with lots of honeyed flavours, fig and a lime peel or candied lemon note. Rich and lush, it has terrific length and deceptively firm acidity. Lovely.

Cave de Ribeauville (France) Cremant Blanc de Blancs
A blend of Pinot Blancs from 2002, 203 and 2004. Very fresh and lemony in character with a touch of herbal complexity and a crisp, racy mousse. Very tangy on the palate, with orange and lemon to the fore. Very fine.

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Albert Mann

Albert Mann (France) Pinot Gris Grand Cru Furstenheim 2004
Absolutely fabulous nose, laden with nutty, herbal and honey-laced fruit. A deal of sesame seed, toasty new oak, but such rich, opulent fruit. The palate is very much like a young Burgundy, with that nutty apple quality, a background of toasty oak, and a wonderful orangy acidity counteracting ripe fruit sweetness. A touch of minerality in the acid quality too. A lovely, lovely wine.

Albert Mann (France) Pinot Noir de la Faille 2004
There are also a couple of top Pinots in the Mann portfolio from Grand Cru vineyards, but Pinot is not entitled to Grand Cru status, so the Pinot Noir from Grand Cru Hengst is labelled ‘Grand H’ for example. This non-Grand Cru wine has a lovely nose: quite stinky and Burgundian, with a touch of sulphide quality, but earthy, damp leaves and some vegetal qualities. There’s a cherry edge to the fruit that carries though onto the palate, with a delicate minerality too and a fine, silky tannin quality. Lovely Pinot that is svelte and poised, with real character.

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Marc Kreydenweiss

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Kritt Pinot Blanc 2004
From a quartz-rich vineyard. Softly honeyed nose, delicate dried apricot notes and a touch of oxidation. The palate is steely and dry, with some mealy, herbal qualities and a dry apple fruit.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Andlau Riesling 2004
Vosges soils, sandstone. Lovely nose, waxy components and a buttery richness, with quite fat lime fruit and a touch of apricot. The palate is much steelier and sleek than the nose suggests, with an absolute blast of lemon fruit and a dry, pithy finish. Very long and crisp, needs food but lovely.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Clos Reberg Riesling 2003
Schisty soils. Smoky and mineral nose, with a touch of petrol and a slightly rotted orange quality. The palate has a lot of sleek, pure mineral and hard white fruit, with apple and lemon dominating. A nice taut acidity and a suggestion of sweetness counterbalanced by dry, pith acidity. Good concentration and length.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Wiebelsberg Riesling Grand Cru 2003
Lovely sense of richness here, with plenty of oatmeally, honeyed richness, and a more forward, rich, supple nectarine fruit character. A touch of sweetness, with a much softer, much more giving style of ripe, quite exotic peachy fruit and a much softer acidity. Fine orange quality to the acidity. Very approachable, but less structured.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Kastelberg Riesling Grand Cru 2003
Second smallest Grand Cru, with six owners. Quite a rounded lime nose, with some softness. The palate here is quite racy, with a cool melon and underripe pear and apple quality of dry white fruits. The plate picks up a touch of honeyed, figgy ripeness (even a touch of botrytis) , but the acidity is nice and keen-edged, giving a lot of orange and some minerality in the finish.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Clos du Val d’Eleon 2002
50/50 Pinot Gris and Riesling blend, blended before alcoholic fermentation. Lovely honeyed, touch of toffee and caramel, with a very buttery quality. On the palate this has lovely freshness, with a racy lemon edge but juts a hint of fatness on the palate, with good fruit and weight, but an overall lean and racy quality.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Clos Reberg Pinot Gris 2002
Smoky, rich and spicy nose, quite a fat apricotty fruit, with a toffeed quality. The palate has lots of ripe melon, pear and rounded white fruits, but lovely freshness too, with plenty of racy acidity counterbalancing and freshening quite rich, full fruit.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Moenchberg Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2003
Rich, quite exotic fruit on the nose, with a hint of minerality and steeliness. On the palate this is off dry, with sweet pear fruit and a counterbalancing, dry and quite pithy lemon and grapefruit acidity. Finishes with plenty of tang and crispness, but acidity comes in touch abruptly.

Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Wiebelsberg Riesling Grand Cru Vendange Tardive 1997
Lots of wax and light petrolly notes mixed with a touch of honey and a definite sense of schisty minerality. On the palate it is quite light and juicy, with a clean, fresh, nicely balanced acidity playing against quite lush fruit. Nectarine and apricot is to the for, with a much more resolved, seamless marriage between the ripe, sweet fruit and residual sugar, and the clean, supple acidity. Lovely, tangy and delicious.

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Remy Gresser

Remy Gresser (France) Duttenberg Sylvaner 2004
Pleasant fresh pear nose, with some skinny phenolics. The palate is a touch phenolic too, but with a nice freshness, with lots of pear fruit and good acidity.

Remy Gresser (France) Kritt Pinot Blanc 2004
Rather dank, a tiny bit sulphury, with some nettle aromatics and more skinny character. This has decent fruit on the palate, but it is not particularly fruity. Fresh, and quite pleasant.

Remy Gresser (France) Kritt Riesling 2004
Light, fresh and clean on the nose, with crisp apple fruit. On the palate it is very straightforward and fresh, with crisp lemon and apple fruit and good balance. Very pleasant.

Remy Gresser (France) Duttenberg Riesling 2004
More mineral and salty character, with dry lemon and white fruit character. Palate has more nervosity, with a shimmering core of lemon and mineral acidity and very crisp fruit. Light to medium bodied, but a nice long finish.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Weibelsberg 2004
Mineral and quite leafy character, with an appealing hint of complexity. A touch less austere than the Duttenberg, with a little hint of sweetness and fullness, but then very keen, crisp acidity really cuts through the finish leaving it dry, but long.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg 2003
A more developed nose, with a hint of petrol and that lime skin, waxy character. The palate has a little richness, but the acidity here is very good, with a clean, pure acidity and that waxy richness.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Moenchberg 2000
Quite a dark colour, with a touch of nutty, marmalady oxidation and overripe buttery character. Very pure, quite full, waxy Sharon fruit flavour, with a fine backbone of acidity holding it together. Dry and savoury, but with fullness.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Moenchberg 1985
Lovely waxy complexity here, with notes of cold tea and ripe, full apricot fruit. A nutty, Cox’s Pippin intensity too. The palate is quite austere, with just hints of honey and stone fruits swept along by a rush of very mineral acidity. Tangy and long, this still has a lovely freshness and good balance.

Remy Gresser (France) Muscat Brandhof 2005
Beautifully fragrant, grapy and floral quality is classic Muscat. A touch of plum and apricot fruit. Very nice balance on the palate, with enough fruit and a just off-dry character, with lovely but gentle acidity. Very moreish.

Remy Gresser (France) Pinot Gris Brandhof 2004
Quite a crunchy character to this wine, with very crisp apple and pear fruit. The palate is just off-dry, with a pleasant fullness and silky ripeness of fruit. The balance is lovely in a very easy drinking wine.

Remy Gresser (France) Gewurztraminer Kritt 2005
Nicely aromatic and classic, with gently rose and lychee character, and very fresh and grapey. The palate has good sweetness (8gl) and a thick, quite unctuous character. The spice really comes through, and the fragrant nature of this. Lovely quality.

Remy Gresser (France) Duttenberg Gewurztraminer Vieilles Vignes 1998
Quite a honeyed, full, nectarine fruit on the nose, with a palate that is really vivacious, with a beautiful, very distinctive palate that is almost like mango or guava juice, with lots of orangy acidity and fine, fine length. Terrific.

Remy Gresser (France) Andlau Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 1999
Very lovely, delicate honey and leaf tea aromas with a background of floral, rose scents. The palate has beautifully judged sweetness: the purity is key here, with a toffeed, rich, pure fruit palate wrapped with a sheen of honey and vanilla, and with a lovely pithy, dry grapefruity acidity that is nicely harmonious. Delightful.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Weibelsberg Vendange Tardive 1997
A tiny bit of nutty oxidation, but lovely Botrytis richness, with fig and quince, and plenty of honey. On the palate this is delightful, with a clean, rounded, fruity character remaining, but there is also lovely minerality. Long and delightful.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Moenchenberg SdGN 2000
Quiet dark. Fully Botrytised nose, with dripping honey and barley sugar character. Thick dried apricot fruit and hints of ripe fig. On the palate this has lovely weight and full texture, with a luscious thickness of nectarine juice and honey, and some of that leaf tea and tobacco background. Lovely acidity here – more mineral than citrus, and very long and cleanly balanced.

Remy Gresser (France) Riesling Grand Cru Kastelberg SdGN 1999
Really dark buttercup/gold. Extra concentration with dried apricots, honey, orange and marmalade, and a herbal quality that is lovely. The palate is very ripe, rich and almost oily, but there is fantastic precision to this wine. What ;lovely character, With hints of toast and fabulous balance. Moenchenberg is perhaps slightly more vivacious, but this is decadent and terrific.

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Domaine Ostertag

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Fruit’ Vieilles Vignes Sylvaner 2005
33 – 70-year old vines, two hectares of it. Lovely peach down and apple skin fruit. Delicate floral notes. The palate has a bit of real concentration, with a grippy note and a forceful character, with really nice fruit through a solidly packed mid palate with lemon skin and orange zest acidity in the finish. Delicious.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Fruit’ Pinot Blanc 2005
Barrique fermented and aged 50/50 Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois, in 10 per cent new oak. Oak is not too dominant, adding a little fat perhaps to very clean, crisp orchard fruits. The palate is dry and savoury, with clean, pure very mouthfilling but precise fruit character. Some spice comes through, in a lovely, rich wine with lovely balance.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Fruit’ Pinot Gris 2004
25% new oak in a barrel-fermented and aged wine. Rich plummy, pear skin fruit with a depth and little smoothing overlay of vanilla. On the palate this has a rich, full texture and a certain creaminess, with fat textured pear and melon fruit, and a serious core of mineral and lime concentrated acidity.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Stone’ Pinot Gris Zellberg 2004
40% new oak. Similar nose, with apple and pear skin qualities, and a certain waxy richness. Again, the oak influence is not overpowering. Lovely sense of sweetness of fruit, with a rich, rounded quite spicy character. Chalky, clay and sandstone character. 11 months in oak.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Stone’ Heissenberg Riesling 2004
All stainless steel, the vineyard name means ‘hot mountain’. Lovely lime and blossom-scented wine, with very pure, quite fat and ripe apple fruit. On the palate the purity and beautiful limpidity comes through. The acid is very mineral and has a pith lemon zest life about it. Lovely length and minerality.

Domaine Ostertag (France) “Stone” Muenchberg Grand Cru Riesling 2004
Lovely yellow colour. This has a glorious nose, with very fine Riesling character, with some herbal and nutty apple notes, a twist of citrus and a fine stony minerality. On the palate it has some richness and fat in the texture, with wonderfully ripe, almost tropical fruit notes, and a searing core of beautifully generous but firm and precise acidity. This has wonderful structure and wonderful complexity with sweet layers, wonderful juiciness and a lovely sour edge of grapefruit and underripe plum or greengage. Fabulous.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Temps’ Muenchberg Grand Cru VT 2004
Picked only eight days later than the wine above in this vintage. There is fine honey and lemon lusciousness, very thick and limpid, with fantastic honeyed ripeness.

Domaine Ostertag (France) ‘Temps’ Gewürztraminer Frohholz VT 2004
Brilliant nose (picked third week November) with huge luscious, honeyed ripeness, but not masking the spice and lychee flavour of the Gewurz. Terrific quality. The palate is beautifully rich and ripe, with scintillating balance and precision to the flavours, with floral, spice and lychee and guava fruit, and beautiful definition of grapefruit flavour and acidity.

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Barmes-Buecher

Barmes-Buecher (France) Pinot Blanc Rosenberg 2004
Fairly restrained, quite nutty apple and pear fruit. Quite spicy, with plenty of powerful fruit o the palate. Very savoury and juicy, with plenty of apple fruit and a big sour lemony core that adds elegance, with lots of orangy acidity and a grippy touch of phenolics in the finish. Little smoky notes. 87

Barmes-Buecher (France) Riesling Rosenberg 2004
A lightly toffeed nose, with small waxy, notes with plenty of lemon fruit and a rounded, crunchy apple fruit. The palate has a fat, juicy lemon fruit, with plenty of dry, pith acidity in a full, but clean and deliciously straightforward Riesling, that has lovely concentration and balance. 88

Barmes-Buecher (France) Riesling Clos Sand 2004
Quite a rich, mealy quality on the nose, with dry white fruit qualities: melon, underripe pear, and apple. The palate is full and rich, with a lot of pithy, dry lemon fruit and a full, rich texture. There is real minerality and a steely, stony seriousness here: these are much less ‘fruity’ and more for ageing. 90

Barmes-Buecher (France) Riesling Leimenthal 2004
A touch of sulphur blows off to show a very stony, mineral character and subdued, dry white fruits. The palate here is even more focused and aesthetic, with lean, savoury, lemon and white fruit notes subsumed by a dry minerality. Very fine, with excellent length and a composed, serious character. 90

Barmes-Buecher (France) Riesling Grand Cru Steingrubler 2004
Quite a dark colour, and a very tight, ungiving nose at present, with herbal notes and a real sense of restrained power and depth. There’s a toffeed, sweet element in the mouth, with pear fruit and a touch of underripe yellow plum: these are really powerful wines, and this has some waxiness and a very grippy finish with good phenolics and mineral acidity. Long and just off dry (11% RS) 92

Barmes-Buecher (France) Riesling Grand Cru Hengst 2004
Similarly tightly bound, brooding power evident on the nose here: clearly a big, concentrated and powerful wine that is in its infancy. Lemon and mineral notes, with a cool, stony, river pebble minerality. On the palate this has a really racy character: it is tight and pithy at present, with a lemon zest twist of waxy power and quite a full, rich texture into the finish. Very tangy and decisive, but still retaining elegance. 93

Barmes-Buecher (France) Pinot Gris Rosenberg ‘Silicis’ 2004
Again quite composed and tight, with some orangy notes and a definite edge of smokiness, but quite reserved. The palate has fine lemony fruit and is really tight and reserved. 90

Barmes-Buecher (France) Pinot Gris Rosenberg ‘Silicis’ 2002
Wonderfully toffeed, rich, with a peaty, smoky character and total transformation after two years extra in bottle. On the palate lovely richness and a little more sweetness (19g/l as opposed to 2.7 in 2004) with fine, honeyed, rich stone fruit flavours but still that lovely firm mineral acidity running through like a spine of steel. 92

Barmes-Buecher (France) Pinot Gris Rosenberg ‘Calcarious’ 2004
A slightly more herbal, smoky quality apparent immediately, with good fruit coming through. A little more open than the Silicis. Lovely richness here, with terrific sense of richness and sweetness. There is a burgeoning sense of opulence to this wine, but that wonderful spine of minerality and pithy, dry lemon acidity keeps it terrifically focused. Fabulous. 93

Barmes-Buecher (France) Gewurztraminer Winzenheim 2004
What a beautifully delicate rose petal fragrance. No lychee or very flamboyant notes, but a very delicate spice and fresh, peachy fruit. The palate has lovely weight and a rich texture, with fine sweet fruit, but such lovely balancing acidity – not harsh or pithy, but very precise and focused. Beautiful wine. 91 23g/l

Barmes-Buecher (France) Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Steingrubler 2004
Much more powerful, much more mineral, with a real expression of terroir rather than grape. Tight and focused. Weighty, waxy, but slightly less full than the Winzenheim, but with a lovely sweetness coming through. Far less ‘gewurzy’ in terms of fruit character, but has the hallmarks fused with minerality and vegetal quality. Extremely fine and serious expression of Gewurz. 92

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Valentin Zusslin

Valentin Zusslin (France) Pinot Auxerrois Vieilles Vignes 2004
Many parcels, but average age of 30 years+ Very attractive, honeyed nose with some lightly toasty character and quiet forward peachy fruit. Lovely sweetness on the palate, with terrific fruit sweetness, a ripe nectarine and peachy ripeness and fine, racy acidity. Lovely easy drinking, but nicely focused and balanced wine with lovely length. 8g/l.

Valentin Zusslin (France) Riesling Bollenberg 2004
Very ripe, rich, quite buttery and honeyed quality. Palate has a nuttiness and peach kernel quality, with very nice fruit and a lovely core of fat, lemony and waxy fruit, with some lemon and a certain minerality in the acidity. Lovely, very dry.

Valentin Zusslin (France) Riesling Clos de Liebenberg 2002
Extremely dry, lemony, very firm fruit quality here, with a fairly closed nose, but a buttery ripeness comes through on the palate. Very steely core to this wine, but the fruit is quite bright and orangy, with a tangy, fresh finish and good length. A step up in intensity (though from a different year,

Valentin Zusslin (France) Riesling Grand Cru Pfingstberg 2002
Only 28 hl/ha yield. The nose has a very composed, firm white fruit character with a hint of honey and lovely ripeness. The palate has a racy, lime and lemon fruit character with a fatness and waxy richness. But the minerality and almost salty dryness comes though into a very long finish.

Valentin Zusslin (France) Muscat Cuvée Marie 2003
On average 25-year-old vines. All Muscat Ottonel, not Muscat d’Alsace. Very attractive, expressive sherbet and floral character. Very nice character, with a lovely fresh, grapey, very lively and vibrant, with a decisive core of acidity that makes it seem quite dry and very focused in to a grapefruity finish. Lovely

Valentin Zusslin (France) Pinot Gris Clos de Liebenberg 2003
Some plum and nectarine skin richness and quality, with plenty of texture on the palate and a very appley and slightly herbal richness with grip and texture and a smoky. Very nice, powerful wine but elegant and racy.

Valentin Zusslin (France) Gewurztraminer Bollenberg La Chapelle 2002
Very nice buttery, perfumed style with some gentle floral notes and a ripe, quite juicy peachy style of fruit. This is structured and dry in the finish, with lots of spice and a bit of alcoholic heat, but lovely balance and real power and structure.

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