Recent Alsace Revelations
23 Monday Nov 2015
I would think Alsace would be more appreciated in the US considering how the US loves richness stemming from viscosity. Yet whatever the textural appeal, Alsace often has what is for most US imbibers an odd earthy element. Typically, that aromatic deepens as the wines become older. However, these three Grand Crus seem to defy the stereotypes.
91 Bechtold 2011 Gewurtraminer Engelberg Grand Cru 14%
This wine has bewitching acidity that belies its 14% alcohol. Indeed, it seems only medium-bodied, and its lilting youthfulness gives it additional lightness. Lychee, clove, persimmon and muskmelon permeate this wine from the start to the finish. Sips well now, especially with creamy cheeses, but this won’t expire any time soon. Still, the layers are only waist rather than neck deep, so even if there’s a ways to go in development, this may not be the most profound Grand Cru.
90 Domaine Ehrhart 2010 Riesling Hengst Grand Cru 12.5%
This is a head-turner from its pronounced gold color to its heady, petrol and over-ripe, peach-laden perfume. This wine is oily and dramatic on the palate, so it’s stunning to sneak a peak at the label and see it is only 12.5%. The finish is non-stop and laden with flint, pluot, white cherry and guava. This wine shows the enthusiastic decadence expected of the grandeur and heritage of its Grand Cru site.
88 Paul Blanck 2011 Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 13.5%
Ripe and definitively in the petrol camp, this is a high-end wine from a middle of the range producer that excels. The wine smells of lime peel, lemon pulp and peach pith. It’s light on its feet in aromas and flavors as well as texture, yet it clearly holds up to the solid length and good complexity of an Alsace Grand Cru.