Riesling continues to dominate the quality wine vibe in Alsace, but pinot noir has an exciting profile that may one day equal the greats of Burgundy, writes James Suckling
James Suckling shares why there’s more to Alsace than world-class riesling
DOMAINE ZINDHUMBRECHT PINOT GRIS ALSACE GRAND CRU RANGEN DE THANN CLOS SAINT URBAIN 2015
This is dialled back and dialled in. The purity is superb, with crushed apple, peach, lemon and slate character.
Full body, lightly sweet and very fruity but the linear length and focus are impressive–it’s like tasting freshly picked grapes. Drink now or hold for as long as you like. Made from biodynamically grown grapes.
97 points DOMAINE OSTERTAG RIESLING ALSACE GRAND CRU MUENCHBERG 2015
A dense yet energetic white with sliced peach, flint and stone character. Medium to full body, solid palate and a fresh, vivid finish. Made from organically grown grapes and Demeter-approved. Drink now.
98 points ALBERT MANN PINOT NOIR ALSACE GRAND H 2015
Dark, powerful and ripe with plenty of dry tannins. This wine carries all that rather well and the finish is long and balanced in spite of the massive tannic structure. This has so much that isn’t yet showing properly. Try to be patient, because this will be better from 2019 through to 2030.
97 points MURÉ RIESLING ALSACE GRAND CRU VORBOURG CLOS ST LANDELIN SELECTION DE GRAINS NOBLES 2015
Enormously dense, dried-fruit aromas, lush and tropical almost to the point of decadence. However, there’s enough acidity to carry this. The true depths are still buried beneath all the richness. If you want to experience them, you will have to wait until maybe 2025, though this wine could live 50 years. Made from biodynamic grapes and Demeter-certified.
98 points FAMILLE HUGEL RIESLING ALSACE SCHOELHAMMER 2008
A very complex rose petal and herbal riesling that is ridiculously fresh for almost a decade of age. Very muscular and concentrated, but still cool and fresh with enormous mineral depth at the finish. Just coming to its peak, but has decades of ageing potential.
SCHOFFIT GEWURZTRAMINER ALSACE GRAND CRU RANGEN CLOS SAINT THEOBALD SELECTION DE GRAINS NOBLES 2006
Hold on to your hat. Deep amber colour, with enormous crème brûlée character and power; but there’s also enough acidity to keep it clean. Very long finish with intense caramel, but also cinnamon and allspice notes. Ought to keep for another couple of decades.
97 points F E TRIMBACH RIESLING ALSACE CLOS SAINTE HUNE 2011
This is really deep and dense with a long, long finish. It’s full-bodied plus has a mineral, salt and dried fruits character. Very powerful with a super finish that’s generous and sexy. Available in 2018.
95 points DOMAINE WEINBACH RIESLING ALSACE GRAND CRU SCHLOSSBERG VENDANGES TARDIVES 2015
The freshness and concentration of this super-elegant riesling literally take your breath away. Diamond-like brilliance and superfine peach, citrus and tropical flower aromas. Some sweetness– though you barely notice it–and at the finish there is stunning mineral freshness. You could drink it now, but in five, 10, 20 and more years it will also be spectacular.
97 points ALBERT MANN PINOT NOIR ALSACE LES SAINTES CLAIRES 2015
If you haven’t realised what Alsace is doing with pinot noir, then this would be a great place to start. Fragrant and refined, with great fruit and very elegant tannins. This is the real thing. The finish is very long and elegant. Beautiful now but will keep for 20 years.
97 points DOMAINE VALENTIN ZUSSLIN RIESLING ALSACE GRAND CRU PFINGSTBERG VENDANGES TARDIVES 2015
This is quite sweet, but don’t imagine there’s anything simple or superficial about this wine at all. In fact, it has great mirabelle fruit, enormous structure and a minerality that just won’t let you go at the very long finish. Better from 2020 when the sweetness is less obvious. Will age for decades. Made from biodynamic grapes and Ecocert-certified.