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Colmar. Nice city.


Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru d'Alsace.Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru d'Alsace.
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Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus... Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus...

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Alsace Wine tasting

Alsace Wine tasting
Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus...During the second week of January, 2003, I attended a series of tastings of the wines of Alsace. In addition to extensive tastings of the wines of Hugel, Marcel Deiss, Trimbach and Zind-Humbrecht, we also sampled several offerings from Dopff au Moulin, Pierre Sparr, Schlumberger, Leon Beyer and Theobald Schoffit.

Following are my tasting notes for all of the wines I tasted. Those noted with a (+) symbol are wines that I had also tasted in the past. Considering the extraordinary quality of many of the wines tasted, re-tasting was an unmitigated pleasure. I hope the notes pass on at least part of the great pleasure of such a tasting.

Hugel

Hugel, Riesling, Vendange Tardive, 1959: With a color somewhere between burnished going to amber, this full bodied wine is beginning to show its age. Considering that the wine maintains its rich and complex magnificence, this is no sin after 43 years! Definite spicy-honeyed botrytis on the nose and flavors and aromas of dried fruits (pineapple, citrus still stand out) plus generous mineral sensations on the long finish continue to make this one of Hugel's very, very best. Not meant for further cellaring, the wine should be consumed in the near future. Past its peak but still superb and still comfortably earning its score of 98+.

Hugel, Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection de Grains Nobles, 1989: Another Hugel great, one that continue to demonstrate itself to be remarkably intense and concentrated but with great elegance. Full bodied, with honeyed apricot, citrus and mocha flavors and aromas, with ample spiciness and a remarkably long aftertaste on which you will feel comfortable flinty-mineral flavors, the wine is drinking beautifully now but promises to cellar well until 2020. Score 98. (+)

Hugel, Tokay Pinot Gris, Vendange Tardive, 1989: Medium to full bodied, now the color of burnished gold, and with excellent balance between honeyed summer fruits, toasted white bread and with generous earthy hints on the long finish, the wine is drinking beautifully now but will cellar comfortably until 2012 - 2015. Score 91.

Hugel, Riesling, Vendange Tardive, 1989: This is the fifth time I have tasted this wine and, as in earlier tastings, continue to find it absolutely enchanting. On comparing to earlier notes, I see no need to change a word of my most recent previous tasting (24 Oct 2000): Medium to full bodied, with deep penetrating sweetness, and ample spicy effects of the botrytis, this almost perfectly structured and balanced wine surprises by its readiness to drink even at this still youthful stage (and believe me, 11 years is youthful for Hugel's Vendange Tardive wines). Look for complex flavors and aromas of honeyed summer fruits and ample spices, all on a flinty-mineral-petrol background, all with a generously long finish. Drinking well now but the wine will cellar comfortably for another quarter-century. Score 97. (+)

Hugel, Riesling, Vendange Tardive, 1990: Fourth time I've tasted this wine and every time its near dryness makes it surprising. I have no problem with this though for this full bodied and remarkably elegant wine offers up remarkable balance between peach and stewed quince fruits along with aromas that remind of fresh cut grass. An astonishingly long finish and the hints of sweetness that continually present themselves cannot help but enchant. Hold for a few more years and then look forward to very good drinking until 2025 - 2030. Score 95. (+)

Hugel, Riesling, Vendange Tardive, 1995: Medium bodied, deep golden in color and with abundant botrytis that makes itself immediately felt on the nose, along with deep flavors and aromas of tropical fruits, spices and a deep sense of honey, this extraordinarily well balanced wine continues to develop beautifully. Still a bit overwhelming in its flowery finish, the wine remains approachable now but will only begin to come into its own in another year or two. Cellar until 2030 or longer. Score 95. (+)

Hugel, Riesling Vendange Tardive, 1997: Depth, concentration and elegance all in a medium to full bodied wine that despite its youth is already showing remarkable depth and breadth. Almost bright golden yellow in color and with abundant citrus, gentle hints of tropical fruits, plenty of minerals and flowers, spice and mint on the finish, this is a wine that deserves long term cellaring. Approach now if you're curious enough but the wine will be at its peak only starting in 2006 and will then cellar very well until 2025 - 2030. Score 94. (+)

Hugel, Gewurztraminer, Vendange Tardive, 1997: Unusual only in that this medium to full bodied wine has been remarkably drinkable from the moment of its release. Lively golden yellow, showing the classic Gewurztraminer litchis, rose petals and spices, with an almost glycerin-like texture that sits comfortably on the palate, the wine boasts moderate sweetness very well balanced and set for medium term cellaring. Drinking beautifully now - 2015. Score 94.

Hugel, Tokay Pinot Gris, Jubilee, Reserve Personnelle, 1997: Full bodied, with a bright golden straw color that casts orange and green reflections, this soft and gentle, lightly botyrtised wine has delightfully underplayed honey, tropical fruit and floral aromas and flavors. Lacking a bit in necessary acidity for the balance required for long term aging, the wine is drinking nicely now and should continue to hold its peak until 2004 - 2005. Score 88.

Hugel, Riesling, Jubilee, 1998: At an earlier tasting (17 Jan 2002) I commented that this wine was somewhat dominated by lemon-lime flavors. Giving myself credit, I suggested that this exaggeration might pass with time. Happily it has and now, with citrus, mineral and floral aromas and flavors coming together nicely on a medium bodied frame the wine is showing the kind of balance that I had hoped for earlier. Already starting to show the appealing light hints of petrol that add charm to many Rieslings, this is a wine to hold until it reaches its peak in about five more years and then cellaring well until 2025 or longer. Revised score 91. (+)

Hugel, Tokay Pinot Gris, Jubilee, 1998: A pleasant little wine, medium bodied, just hinting of sweetness, with subdued tropical and citrus fruit flavors and a reminder of minerals at the end. Drink now. Score 85.

Marcel Deiss

Marcel Deiss, Gewurztraminer, 1989: Taste this and you will know precisely why "Gewurztraminer" translates to "spicy Traminer". Spices abound here, but those beautifully set off by traditional litchi, citrus and rose petal aromas and flavors, all on a deliciously sweet base with plenty of balancing acid, and a very appealing crème brulee "feeling" on the long finish. Drink now - 2008. Score 93.

Marcel Deiss, Gewurztraminer, Altenberg de Berheim, Selection de Grains Nobles, Grand Cru, 1989: With intense traditional Gewurztraminer flavors and aromas of grapefruit, litchis, rose petals and spices, this full bodied white offers up generous sweetness, plenty of balancing acidity and a long finish. Drink now - 2005. Score 91.

Marcel Deiss, Gewurztraminer, Quintessence, Selection de Grains Nobles, 1997: Comparison to my note of about two years ago (6 Feb 2001) shows no need to regret any of the good things I said at that time: Deep gold in color with enchanting orange, red and orange reflections as the light plays on the surface, this full bodied and concentrated wine is a sparkling example of why botrytis cinerea is called the "noble" rot. Intense and rich, powerful but elegant, with complex interplay on the palate between caramel, honey, orange peel and spices, the wine goes on and on, filling the mouth and nostrils beautifully. Drink now - 2009. Score 95. (+)

Marcel Deiss, Grand Vin de Schoenenbourg, Grand Cru, 1997: Not so much with fruits as it is with apple pie, spice, mineral, smoke and mocha flavors and aromas, but an absolute delight in every way, this medium to full bodied white shows bare but tantalizing hints of sweetness from first attack to its very long finish. Drinking very nicely now, the wine should cellar comfortably until 2010. Score 94.

Marcel Deiss, Grasberg, 1997: A blend of Riesling and Pinot Gris, this very well balanced medium to full bodied white is typical of Deiss' "special cuvees" - showing not so much fruits as it does mineral and cake flavors (in this case what came to mind was a hazelnut cream cake). On the long finish though, notes of green apples and a light smoky finish. Delicious now but the wine will show greater elegance starting in 2004 - 2005 and will then serve nicely until the end of the decade. Score 94.

Trimbach

F.E. Trimbach, Riesling, Cuvee Frederic Emile, Vendages Tardives, 1990: A wine that has pleased and continues to please me over five separate tastings. Maturing beautifully but still fresh, lively and youthful, this concentrated and intense mind offers up citrus, green apple, clove and spicy aromas and flavors. Call me mad if you will but I continue to find hints of tobacco smoke and mint unfolding on the long, long finish. Drink now - 2020. Score 95. (+)

F.E. Trimbach, Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection de Grains Nobles, 1990: The color of deep golden straw, this medium to full bodied wine delights with balance between white peache, apricot and sweet apple fruits along with plenty of balancing acidity and long caramel finish. Drinking well now but the wine will cellar comfortably until 2020. Score 94. (+)

F.E. Trimbach, Riesling, Clos Ste.-Hune, 1991: When I first tasted this wine in 1998 I was mildly impressed. This re-tasting "blew me away" altogether, for the wine has developed superbly in the last four years. Medium to full bodied, with excellent balance between honeyed fruits (apples, grapes and pineapple), minerals and just the right hints of petrol that are now coming in and a long, long finish, the wine is drinking beautifully now but will cellar comfortably until 2008 - 2010. Score 95. (+)

F.E. Trimbach, Riesling, Cuvee Fredric Emile, 1997: My notes at this tasting were virtually identical to those made at my previous tasting (19 Jan 2002): Medium to full bodied, this marvelously well balanced wine is generous in flavors that unfold on the palate. Look for peach, green apple and citrus fruits along with tempting aromas of cloves, allspice and toasted bread. Intense, deep and long, this is a wine that can be approached now or cellared until 2007 - 2010. Score 95.

F.E. Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Vendange Tardive, 1997: Whether this wine or my palate has been the one to age well is hard to say, but the wine has most definitely improved since my last tasting (30 Aug 2001). In addition to citrus and peach fruits that were previously here, this medium bodied wine has developed more traditional litchi and rose petal aromas and flavors. Good balancing acidity that was somehow subdued earlier and a longer finish than I recall from past tastings. Revised score 90. (+)

F.E. Trimbach, Riesling, 1998: Concentrated and deep, this medium to full bodied has the color of golden straw. Tempting citrus, kiwi and mineral flavors and aromas, joined on the long finish by hints of petrol and earthiness, the wine is approachable now but will be at its best only in 2 - 3 years longer. Drink from 2005 - 2010. Score 90.

F.E. Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, 2000: Barely sweet, with litchi, summer fruits, citrus and plenty of spices, especially on the finish, this medium bodied wine seems almost to float on the palate, but as it does it manages to fill the mouth nicely. Not destined for long term cellaring, the wine is drinking nicely now and should maintain its charm until 2004 - 2005. Revised score 88. (+)

Zind Humbrecht

Zind Humbrecht, Gewurztraminer, Gueberschwhir Goldert, Vendange Tardive, Grand Cru, 1990: Medium to full bodied, with traditional Gewurztraminer flavors and aromas of rose petals and litchis, with plenty of spiciness and acidity to balance its honeyed sweetness, this mouthfilling and long lingering wine is drinking beautifully now but should continue to cellar until 2006 - 2008. Score 95.

Zind Humbrecht, Riesling, Rangen de Thann, Clos St.-Urbain, 1990: When I first tasted this wine (22 Sep 1994), I described it as "medium to full bodied, with a deep golden color, this very well balanced wine shows delicious and well balanced flavors and aromas of yellow peaches, apricot and citrus that yield comfortably to smoke, toasty white bread and minerals on the long finish" and suggested drinking it until 2005 - 2008. The wine has lived up to its promise and now, with a deeper, almost bronzed color, is drinking beautifully. No rush though as the wine will continue to develop gracefully for 3 - 5 years longer. Revised score 93. (+)

Zind-Humbrecht, Tokay Pinot Gris, Rangen de Thann, Clos St. Urbain, Grand Cru, 1992: A wine that has consistently pleased since my first tasting (19 Aug 1996). Now at its peak (but have no fear, it will hold that peak for at least five years longer) and showing full body, a burnished golden color and pears, dried apricots and nutty flavors. Generous in every way, the wine will drink beautifully now - 2007. Score 94. (+)

Zind Humbrecht, Pinot Gris, Turkheim Heimbourg, Selection des Grain Nobles, 1993: How this one missed me along the way will remain a sorrowful mystery, for this irresistible wine offers up deep honeyed sweetness matched by ample pineapple, citrus and vanilla aromas and flavors all on a background of spices and lightly bitter herbs. Drinking very nicely now but with the potential of cellaring until 2015 - 2018. Score 96.

Zind Humbrecht, Gewurztraminer, Geuberschwihr, 2000: Full bodied, this still young and still light golden wine has precisely the kind of balance and structure to assure long-term aging. Full bodied, with honeyed fruits, litchis and plenty of spiciness from first attack to the long finish, and with good balancing acid to match the sweetness, the wine is drinking nicely now despite its youth but will cellar comfortably until 2015 - 2020. Score 93.

Zind Humbrecht, Riesling, Turckheim Brand, Grand Cru, 2000: Full bodied, with moderate but well felt sweetness and generous botrytised honeyed-citrus, pear flavors and aromas, all balanced beautifully by minerals and a lightly spicy background., this very well made wine is drinking well now and promises to cellar comfortably until the end of the decade. Score 93.

Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling, Rangen de Thann, Clos St.-Urbain, Grand Cru, 2000: Barely sweet, this deep golden and thoroughly elegant wine shows off nicely with summer and tropical fruits, abundant flinty minerals and plenty of acidity and spices that come in on the long finish. Let this one open in the glass for half an hour and it will give a preview of what to expect in the future, with hints of mint, licorice and a light but tempting petrol feeling that lingers nicely. Drink 2004 - 2010 or longer. Score 93.

Zind Humbrecht, Gewurztraminer, Herrenweg, 2000: Deep golden straw in color and with an almost Riesling-like viscosity, this full bodied wine is packed with summer fruits, oranges and smoky aromas and flavors, all coming together beautifully. With a moderately long and generously spicy finish the wine is drinking nicely now but will find its best only starting in about 2004. Not for long term cellaring, but the wine should hold nicely until 2007 - 2008. Score 90.

Zind Humbrecht, Gewurztraminer, Wintzenheim, 2000: A lovely straw colored young Gewurztraminer, with medium body and delicious litchi, summer fruit and blanched almond flavors and aromas, all ending in a long, spicy finish. Not one for long term cellaring but lovely now - 2006. Score 89.

Miscellaneous Wineries

Dopff au Moulin
Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection de Grains Nobles, 1988: Aging gracefully, this full bodied and now bronze colored wine shows generous sweetness, excellent balancing acidity and multiple layers of fruits and spices. Look at first for dried apricots and peaches, those yielding to apple, citrus and white pepper and a long finish on which a very appealing hint of licorice comes in. Drinking well now or until 2005 - 2006. Score 92. (+)

Pierre Sparr
Riesling, Grand Cru Mambourg, 1990: Deep golden in color, this medium to full bodied and very well balanced wine is now showing its very best. Traditional petrol and mineral flavors on a background of pineapple, apple and orange fruits, with a long, appealing bittersweet finish. Drinking very well now - 2006. Score 93.

Schlumberger
Riesling, Kitterle, Grand Cru, 1995: When I first tasted this wine (15 Nov 2001), I wrote: "Lots of minerals, lime and floral aromas and flavors on a medium bodied frame give this dry white a remarkable sense of richness and depth. Let the wine sit on the palate and feel its rich mineral-earthy sensations. Drink now - 2006". This current tasting gives me no reason to change a word of that original review. Score 92. (+)

Pierre Sparr
Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection de Grains Nobles, Grand Cru, 1996: Full bodied, with an almost oily texture and thickness and intense flavors and aromas that unfold beautifully on the palate. Look for mandarin oranges, crème brulee, English cake, flavors on the first attack and then for earthy, herbal and tea sensations on the long finish. Drinking very nicely now, the wine promises to cellar comfortably until the end of the decade. Score 95.

Leon Beyer
Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection de Grains Nobles, 1998: Deep botrytis aromas and flavors in this full bodied wine, those complimented very comfortably with honeyed sweetness, citrus and summer fruit aromas and flavors and a long mineral-laded finish. Drink now - 2010. Score 94.

Theobald Schoffit
Tokay Pinot Gris, Selection des Grains Nobles, 1999: Simultaneously opulent and elegant, with complex flavors and aromas of dried summer fruits and spices, this wine shows exquisite balance between intense sweetness, acidity and fruits. Full bodied and still remarkably young, the flavors open layer after layer on the palate and then linger long and comfortably, fading only after the palate feels that it has been comfortably sated. Drink now - 2025 or 2030. A magnificent effort. Score 98.

Theobald Schoffit
Tokay Pinot Gris, Rangen Clos St. Theobald, 1999: Medium to full bodied, this almost flamboyantly intense and concentrated wine jumps up to exhibit spicy peach, apricot and pear flavors and aromas. Complex and deep, with a very long finish on which you will find hints of licorice and vanilla, the wine is drinking well now and should cellar comfortably until 2015- 2016. Score 95.

Daniel Rogov - www.stratsplace.com
Posted on Wednesday, March 29 @ 02:31:02 MST by pierre
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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Nice city.
Colmar. Nice city.


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