(2019) I've a bit of a soft spot for Alsace Pinot Noir, often a surprising revelation for people who think only of white and sparkling wines from the region. This light-bodied wine has dry, small red berry fruits and pepper, and a bit of briary, twiggy character with plenty of aromatic interest all round. In the mouth it is fairly spartan, the tight tannins and the relatively dry and deliberately lean and fresh style making it quaffable, yet there's a grown=up, savoury quality too.
(2019) Having trained in Burgundy and worked in California, Michel Fonné took over his uncle René Barth’s estate in 1989. As is very common with Alsace Pinot Gris, there’s definitely some sweetness here, in a wine that is full-bodied and voluptuous, and the antitheses of more neutral Pinot Grigios. With a wisp of smoke and fat, beeswax and apricot fruit on the nose, the palate explodes with ripe stone fruit flavours, a limey acidity that is purposeful but not sharp, and the sweetness offsetting a touch of spice and plenty of powerful fruit intensity. A fine example of a style Alsace does so well. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) By all accounts there is a recent surge of interest in France's 'other' sparkling wines, the Crémants from Burgundy, the Loire, Alsace and various other regions, made by the traditional method and normally priced substantially lower than Champagne. This from Alsace is composed mostly of Pinot Blanc and aged nine months on the lees in bottle before disgorgement. Pouring a pale green/gold with a lively mousse, this has baked apple and pastry aromas, a sense of richness, and a touch of lemon peel. On the palate it's pretty straightforward, but it has a fine stone fruit juiciness and ripeness, a bit of weight and creamy texture and a generous finish with the acidity elegantly balanced against the fruit and touch of toastiness.
(2018) Twenty kilometres west of Strasbourg, the Grand Cru of Steinklotz is at the northern tip of the Alsace wine route, and Gewurztraminer is the main grape planted on its limestone soils. This light golden wine opens with a touch of typical Turkish delight and rose perfume, subtle over stone fruits. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and off-dry, the fruit and sweetness offset by a bitter orange, pithy grip so typical of this variety. It is a fairly straightforward rendition, but match it to some spicy Chinese or Thai food and the balance, sweetness and freshness will work well.
(2017) Very fine nose, fine Gewurztraminer character, spicy and smoky, lots of residual sugar to give a delicate but exotic fruitiness that has intensity and yet filigree lacy acid framework. 17g/l makes it off-dry and a great match for Thai food or very ripe tomatoes with good olive oil, or simple pizza.
(2017) So ripe and generous, rich and almost strawberry-scented, that nice tropical character but then the delicate smokiness and the very firm edge of acidity, meaning the 9g/l of sugar just disappears into the finish.
(2017) First vintage of this wine made in the new cellars, and from vineyards in conversion to biodynamic certification. Schlossberg is the biggest Grand Cru of Alsace, and this comes from the Kirrenbourg parcel within it. So taut and steely with that firm, concentrated power of both fruit and acidity, fabulous drive and purpose. Thrilling Riesling.
(2017) Powerful smoky minerality and a touch of nettle, and there is a pungent, almost passion fruit note. A very expressive Riesling, the vintage showing through beautifully. On the palate there is a searing dry core of acidity and that dry apple core seriousness. Lovely juicy orange tang of acidity. Should cellar well.
(2017) From limestone soils, in conversion to biodynamic certification, this has 3.5g/l sugar. Deeper colour than the Schlossberg also tasted, beautiful aromatics, demonstrative, with a richness and ripeness, again plenty of bold, bright orange fruit. Not at all flabby, but a certain broadness compared to the Schlossberg’s tension and drive.
(2017) Very nice spices and cool apple and pear fruit at first, then a little more peachiness comes through. Lovely mouth-filling and sweet fruit, but dry and quite steely on the finish. Lovely dry extract grip.