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The "E" cuvee is from the upper slope of Sommerberg, on decomposed granite with mica, usually the more purely mineral of Boxler's Sommerberg rieslings. In 2005 there is a lovely richness to the fruit but the aromas have an aspect of stony acids mingling with the exotic yellow fruits, flowers and lime. Very complex aromas, to describe them would be a bit ridiculous. The palate is dense, but not heavy, round and supple but with good acidity. A gorgeous riesling from a ripe vintage that's delicious now and will age beautifully.
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
This is a complex dry Riesling, and truly a fantastic wine for the money. There are layers of tropical fruit (guava, mango) on the nose, spice, floral notes, and a bit of fleshiness on the palate. A touch opaque in the glass, with great texture in mouth and a ethereal finish. I recently shared this with a number of different people, including some "untrained" wine drinkers, and it was a unanimous hit. It's a very special wine posing as a"basic" Riesling. 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
There are a slew of delicious Pet-Nats emerging from Alsace, as younger generations experiment with the newly popular "methode ancestrale." The Geschickt version is 100% Pinot Auxerrois, and will be an instant hit with fans of saisons and farmhouse ales, and an eyebrow raiser for wine aficionados. It's totally dry, and a bit opaque, but clean and direct. There's a hint of pineapple on the palette, and perfect acidity carrying the fine bubbles. The mouthfeel is soft and gentle and finish is subtle. Just an all around fun wine and the new kid on the block for all you thirsty pet-nat drinkers. **fun note: there is apparently also a pet nat made by Jean Ginglinger called the "Dark Nat" that is part of a funny joke between Geschickt and Ginglinger - to me it was a look into how awesome the winemaker community is in Alsace. ** Eben Lillie