(2019) A fascinating wine all-round, made from late-harvested, over-mature, Chardonnay grapes, made with just a short period in barrels to preserve its floral and tropical fruit notes. It pours a glowing golden yellow and opens with creamy, buttery, and like the dry white wine, slightly oxidative notes that only serve to add intrigue. It is undoubtedly sweet, but a tempered sweetness of 36g/l, but again caught up in the buttery and nutty, natural-feeling light oxidation. Mouth-filling and chewy, yet the sweetness is there, and a balancing, freshening acidity, in a wine that continues to intrigue until the last mouthful. Cascina Eugenia recommend decanting for 10 hours before serving. 623 bottles produced.
(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) A de-alcoholised wine from Torres, made using technology to remove the alcohol from a 'normal' wine, this presses very nice Muscat buttons aromatically, light, floral and herbal, and fairly indistinguishable from a regular Muscat wine. The same can't be said for the palate however, but it's not an entirely negative picture: it feels lightly effervescent in the mouth, more fruit-juicy than winey, but it is off-dry, balanced and enjoyable in its way.
(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) Also late harvest, fermented in steel tanks then aged in old Oloroso American oak casks. Darker in colour, there's more toast and a hint of marmalade, real richness and a suggestion of more sweetness to come. Indeed the wine has just over 20g/l of residual sugar, the unfortified late harvest sweetness is there, in its way delicate and Kabinett style, but the darker notes, the palate weight, barrel and the higher alcohol add significant lusciousness and a touch of spice.
(2017) Another delicious Riesling this, off-dry and peachy to the nth degree, it comes from one of the oldest vineyard blocks that regularly develops a little botrytis. As well as peach, a touch of candle wax and lime skins, there's a hint of smoky minerals and a hint of floral top-note in quite a complex aromatic profile. The palate is grapefruity and tangy, the hint of sweetness offset by lots of pithy citrus cut, finishing with lots of zest and bittersweet grapefruit in a hugely quaffable style.
(2017) My first tasting of a Gewurz from Riverby and it is a very good one. Cicada is an occasional brand used by Kevin Courtney when a wine is made from purchased, rather than estate-grown, fruit. This is made in an unashamedly opulent style, all about aromatics, sweetness and full, fat texture in the mouth. Classic aromas of Turkish delight and talcum, rose petal and some waxy exotic fruit peel lead on to a mouth-filling, spicy wine where the expansiveness of the flavour and texture is matched by very good acidity as the spiciness of the variety powers through. A banker for spicy Szechwan or Thai food, maybe even light fruity desserts.
(2017) An interesting white made using the appassimento technique with partially dried grapes, nothing is given away about the varieties used, but locally think Garganega and perhaps Pinot Bianco. It has a vivacious and tropical character, promising ripeness and sweetness, a little hint of something buttery and minty too. On the palate, there is some sweetness here making it just off-dry, but good acidity does balance. There's texture and ripe, pear and peach fruit in a deliciously drinkable and Chinese food-friendly wine.
(2016) A fabulous, just off-dry Riesling, shimmering with zesty, tangy, lip-tingling freshness, the aromas of rosy red apple and delicate floral notes have that touch of beeswax again too, but then burst through on the palate with real tang, like a dawn shower in a cold mountain stream, though there is some nectarine sweetness and hints of fat juiciness too on the mid-palate, in a purely delightful wine.