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This is an off-dry (semi-sweet) expression of Gewurztraminer from granite soils. White flowers, spice, and mint blossom on the nose, with a silky and subtly sweet mid-palate, and nice structure in the finish. Textbook Gewurz! Eben Lillie
As implied by the "Vin sec" on the front label, this is a DRY Gewurztraminer, from old vines. Laurent always looks for botrytis, but there was none in 2015 so he made this dry expression, and I think it's perfect! All the aromatic complexity is there, with a touch of salinity in the mouth and a crisp finish. Not just a great wine for educational purposes or curious palates... This is a classy dry white that everyone should try! Eben Lillie
What a delicious wine... Pinot Gris on granite. Elegance and white flowers (Laurent says "Acacia flowers"). 10g RS (residual sugar), with total SO2 at about 30mg/l. When tasting this wine, I remarked to Laurent how it's demi-sec (a bit sweet) on the attack, and dry in the finish, and he said that this is a very typical experience for a wine from granite soils. Enveloping ripe fruit on the nose and palate, with loads of freshness, menthol and acid in the finish. Interestingly enough, I poured this wine for a bunch of people and no one found it to be sweet. Ripe is probably a better word. This is a fantastic wine to pair with food, and should age nicely. Eben Lillie
I'm a big fan of this Pinot Noir. It's uniquely Alsatian, and doesn't remind me of Burgundy, or California, or Oregon, or the Jura (or even the Alto Aldige!). 15 months elevage (ageing), half/half whole cluster and destemmed. 2015 was a hot year, so Laurent says he harvested when the grapes were ripe, but not TOO ripe. A lovely Pinot Noir, with notes of fresh rasberries on the nose. Fresh and elegant, with some tannin, structure, and a bit of pepper in the finish ("typical of granite," says Laurent). I think this wine should age nicely. Though I admit to not having a lot of experience in the field of aged Alsatian Pinot, I will definitely be putting some aside to see how they evolve... and of course drinking some soon too! Eben Lillie
Always around 50% Pinot Auxerrois (fermented separately), with Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and a touch of Riesling. The idea here is to make a wine that is easy to drink, says Laurent, and he nails it! There's a subtle touch of spice on the palate, with a crystalline minerality in the finish, thanks to the granite soils. Eben Lillie
This is a classic dry Riesling from Laurent Barth. It's approachable and very easy to drink, but also has emotion and depth, and will likely be a wine that one could keep for a while. 2015 was a hot year, so there's good ripeness here. Plenty of complexity and salinity with nice granitic character in the finish. Laurent uses the word "salivant" for this wine, which I take it has to do with salivating due to the minerality of the wine, but that's open to interpretation! Anyway, it's a fantastic dry Riesling and worth a try for any fan of the legendary grape, or any one new to the wines of Laurent Barth. -Eben Lillie
Mostly Pinot Auxerrois with some Pinot Noir in the mix, this is a methode ancestrale "Pet Nat" from Laurent Barth... a wine we never knew existed since most of it is sold in Europe and Laurent keeps a fair amount at home to share with friends (and to pour after his Pinot Noirs to prepare your palate for an onslaught of delicious white wines). Lucky for us the fine folks at Louis/Dressner Selections were able to score a handful of cases for the US market! The wine spends 18 months sur latte (sur lie) before disgorging. A fascinating and singular wine, with notes of tangerine and toasted coconut and a long elegant finish. Eben Lillie
This is one of the first Alsatian wines I tasted 10 years ago! Almost all Pinot Auxerrois, with a tiny bit of Pinot Gris. I always thought this was Laurent's big production wine, because it's approachable and a great price, but it turns out that production is miniscule, and grapes are harvested from 3 small parcels that total 70 ares (less than 2 acres). This is a pretty special wine for only $15. Crisp and clean, with pretty orchard fruit on the nose and good ripeness. Equally suitable on it's own as an apero or with salads, cheeses, and seafood. Eben Lillie
Occasionally Laurent will make this old vines Pinot Auxerrois, and it's always a remarkable wine when he does! In 2015, Laurent had some Auxerrois that was meant to be sparkling, but he noticed that the quality was so good that he ended up separating it. On top of that, he also wanted the best juice for this cuvée, so he didn't use any juice from the beginning or the end of the press. The result is a beautifully structured wine, simultaneously charming and serious, with ripe stone fruit on the nose and ample acidity on the palate. A rare and special treat! Eben Lillie
Frick made two versions of the GC Steinert Riesling in 2012, one with filtration and the addition of a small amount of SO2 at bottling, and a second with no filtration and no sulfites added. He took great interest in watching my father and I taste the two, and the anticipation of our response was accompanied by a touch of childlike excitement. I think I remember him being quite pleased that we both preferred the second version. Truth be told, I like them both. The first had a bit of residual sugar, and was very classic, but I ended up preferring the second because it was drier, and had a subtle salinity to it that carried the wine on the palate in a much more interesting way. There's a touch of honey dew melon, lemon, and saffron, and is a bit fleshy on the palate. The Steinert parcel is oriented East, on a terroir of limestone, with relatively dry soil. A great wine to have over the course of many days. Eben Lillie
This Gewurztraminer is technically from the Grand Cru Steinert vineyard, but Pierre simply didn't want to present this wine as a Grand Cru, so he calls it "Steiner." To me, it's a perfect Gewurz; a little sweet (22g residual sugar), fresh, floral and clean, with a touch of mint and herbs. I had a bottle that lasted for about a week, and I really enjoyed tasting it every day. I consider this a classic Gewruztraminer, and a great introduction to the grape and it's characteristics. Eben Lillie
Bergweingarten is a vineyard of brown limestone, with South-East exposition in the middle of a hill. Pierre says there's a touch of sandstone influence, which dons a type of crystalline freshness and structure to the wines from this site. There's some stone fruit here, and a nice level of ripeness, with hints of mandarin orange, almond, and spice. Aged on the lees for 11 months in large 100 year old barrels, with 19g S02 total. I wouldn't call this a completely dry Sylvaner - even though the residual sugar is only 1.4g, it's ripe and flavorful and has some lingering fruit in the finish. A very tasty wine, and quite versatile with a variety of foods. Eben Lillie
Frick's Pinot Auxerrois 'Carriere' is the first Auxerrois I ever tasted, and a wine I always look forward to tasting each year with Pierre. The 2014 is crisp and dry, with 0 grams of residual sugar, and no sulfites added. Carriere is a parcel on limestone with a good amount of sandstone, which Frick says gives the wine a "claquant" character. Truly not an easy word to translate, a wine that is claquant (from claquer- to clap) has a kind of lip smacking freshness and acidity, and is energetic and lively on the palate. Frick also refers to the wine as "tendu," which is the French word for tense, but here I believe expresses how lean and focused the wine is. Apparently the French love this wine with sushi and sashimi, and I can see why. There's very subtle white stone fruit on the palate, but no softness or fruitiness whatsoever, and the finish is clean and mineral. Drink over several hours, as the wine opens up and reveals a bit more texture with some time open. Eben Lillie
Though it seems like a relatively new category, it turns out winemakers in Alsace have been making skin contact wines for some time. The first may have been Bannwarth, who experimented with qvevri (georgian clay anforae). Then, along with the Fricks, JF Rietsch, Patrick Meyer, and Bruno Scheuller. From the Grand Cru Vorbourg vineyard, this is Pinot Gris with 12 days of skin contact with no sulfites added. The color is a deep auburn/ruby in the glass, almost reminiscent of a light red. On the palate, it's balanced and clean, with faint tannin, peach fuzz, and subtle red fruit. Eben Lillie
A tasty Cremant d'Alsace, 100% Pinot Blanc, with no sulfites added. It's bright and fresh, but also marked by straw notes and some yeasty overtones. It's a touch funky on the palate but overall very rejuvenating and complex. Eben Lillie
Double zero stands for zero dosage and zero sulfites added. This Cremant d'Alsace is a blend of Riesling and Pinot Blanc, and is typically aged 3 years sur latte before disgorgement. It's dry and refreshing, and has a remarkable rejuvenating effect. Subtle on the nose, but very complex on the palate, with a long, mineral finish. -Eben Lillie