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An Alsace pinot noir with bright cherry cake fruit with hints of Christmas spice and smooth, clean palate.
Product Code: AL15771
View all products by Maison Trimbach
The house of Trimbach in Ribeauvillé, north-west of Colmar, dates back to 1626. It was only in the late 19th century, however, that the firm began to gain recognition and expand under the guidance of Frédéric-Emile Trimbach. It was he who first exhibited the wines on an international stage - from here the family-name started to grow in stature. Along with their own vines scattered around three villages, the Trimbachs also buy in grapes from other growers around Ribeauvillé. They own sites in several grand cru vineyards but, so far for the most part, have shunned the use of grand cru on their labels. Trimbach has made its reputation on its remarkable, dry steely rieslings with their intense minerality and purity of flavour. The jewel in the crown is the single-vineyard Clos Sainte-Hune, one of the greatest expressions of riesling anywhere in the world. Cuvée Frédéric Emile, which bears the name of the domaine’s most important forefather, also has an excellent reputation and is a little more affordable. Excellent gewurztraminer is also produced here in a dry, perfumed style with plenty of concentration and richness. The late harvest wines made from riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot gris and muscat, although different from the classic Trimbach style in that they are sweet, are impressively structured and rich, but with enough acidity to retain freshness. Trimbach has remained a family-owned operation over the centuries with the twelfth generation cousins Jean and Pierre presently in charge. Jean looks after the commercial side of the business, regularly attending Wine Society tastings and events on his travels. He has great knowledge of the wines and is a fitting ambassador for them. Pierre is the chief vigneron and winemaker, overseeing all stages of production from the vineyards through to selection and bottling. Now their children are also involved in this traditional family house.
The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, and give or take some pinot noir production almost all the wines are white. The hierarchy of appellations is simple to understand too, with AC Vin d’Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and AC Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines being all you need to know. Vendange Tardive and Sélection des Grains Nobles are two further designations within those classifications for wines made from later-harvested grapes that are higher in sugar and wines made from grapes affected by botrytis (aka noble rot) respectively. Grand cru wines must be made with grapes from a named vineyard site of that designation harvested at lower yields than those permitted for AC Vin d’Alsace wines. Though they are not all equal in terms of quality and many were granted such status to satisfy local political demands, many of these sites are producing some of the greatest wines of the region. There are about 50 such grand cru sites in Alsace and wines from these sites can only be made from four noble varieties – riesling, muscat, pinot gris and gewurztraminer – though the grand cru vineyards themselves can be planted with any permitted variety. Curiously, though, it is often the producer name and brand that is considered of higher importance than cru, and some producers do not use the name of a grand cru vineyard on the labels of wines made from those sites. Different producers are known for their house styles and it is often this, and the trusted quality of their ‘brands’, that attracts the savvy drinker. The grape varieties are varied. Gewurztraminer is a grape that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. Highly aromatic, with scents of lychee, rose petals and spice (gewürz is the German word for spice), sometimes very dry and sometimes richly sweet, gewurztraminer from Alsace can accommodate many difficult food pairings. They include Thai and other aromatic Asian foods, ginger-infused foods, and washed rind cheeses such as Munster.Muscat, so often made to be sweet in other regions, is nearly always bone dry in Alsace. Perfumed and grapy, muscat makes an excellent aperitif and partner to asparagus. Pinot blanc is an excellent everyday wine, not so aromatic, clean and round and often blended with auxerrois with which it share a similarly clean scent and flavour profile. Pinot gris produces full, rich wines, less spicy than gewurztraminer and capable of long ageing. It can be a superb match for food, particularly roast goose, smoked fish, Oriental dishes and a varied cheeseboard. Sylvaner is now an endangered species, being superseded by other varieties. It makes lively, refreshing whites with good acidity that in the best examples can age surprisingly gracefully. It is often drunk with food in Alsace restaurants, particularly onion tart, ham, bacon and pork.Riesling is, for many cognoscenti, the region’s greatest wine. Here it produces dry, fuller-bodied styles with more rounded acidity. Like its lighter, often sweeter German counterparts, it develops great complexity with age, taking on its distinctive petrol aroma. The red pinot noir grape ripens easily in Alsace and more and more wines are being made, with more substance, colour and aroma than their historical forbears. Some from the best producers are showing the ability to age well.Please see our How to Buy Alsace Guide in the Wine World & News section of our website for a more detailed feature on the Alsace region.
A mild winter followed by May frosts held back ripening early in the season but hot, dry, almost drought conditions in the summer brought ripening on and in the end August rains were a welcome relief. Those rains kept the grapes on track and beautiful weather at harvest time brought them to a perfect pitch of ripeness. As such, 2019 is a very good vintage, balancing structure and ripeness with freshness and lovely aromatics that will see dry and sweet wines alike ageing very well.
"Bright raspberry fruit, light with a pleasant lingering acidity. However, my bottle is pettilant with some bitter notes. I would have to try an unaffected bottle to review it properly."
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