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Benchmark Alsace riesling from a top producer. The Josmeyer sisters' riesling is typically elegant and refined. Picked ripe and made dry, this is a classic style, with developed floral aromas and silky food-friendly texture.
Product Code: AL13921
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The Alsace domaine of Josmeyer dates back to 1854, when Aloyse Meyer set himself up as a négociant to supply restaurants. His grandson Hubert added part of his father’s name to create the company name, Josmeyer. Though technically still a négociant, practically everything that Josmeyer produces comes from the estate’s 31 hectares which are located between the towns of Turckheim and Wintzenheim near Colmar. Each generation has left its mark here. Hubert, who died in 2005, created the export market. His son Jean further raised quality levels. He more or less abandoned the négociant side and then switched the whole estate to biodynamic farming. Jean was an outstanding cook, as is his wife, Odile, and gastronomy was always present at any discussion and when creating their cuvées.Jean died in 2016, leaving his two quite extraordinary daughters at the helm. Céline is in charge of the books and sales and her sister Isabelle is in charge of the cellar. Both daughters are artistically gifted and helped their father design the look of the ranges. From the beginning, Josmeyer has been identified with the vineyards of Brand and Hengst, now among Alsace’s top grands crus. Hengst produces fine full-flavoured riesling and gewurztraminer, while from Brand there is also pinot gris which is invariably bone dry and among the best in Alsace. A curiosity of the house is a cuvée of old-vine auxerrois from the Hengst.
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.
As in much of Europe, a complicated growing season, with early heavy rains and mildew pressure. Flowering was cool, damp and protracted followed at last by hot dry, even drought conditions for some, in August. Thankfully a little rain in the second half of September revived the vineyards just in time for the harvest. Careful picking was required and the very dry conditions did have a major impact in some vineyards with up to 20% of production lost. A healthy crop, but one with little noble rot. 2016 is a good year for the later ripening varieties: pinot gris, gewurztraminer and riesling, and overall better than 2014. Volumes also look pretty good, which is much needed after three short harvests.
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The Observer 17th Feb 2019
"Made for The Wine
Society by the incomparable Josmeyer, this is typically joyful, livewire, silky
and dry right now; but it would be fun to see it take on extra caraway-seed
complexity over the next five years. - David Williams"
The Independent 2nd Feb 2019
"A good starting point
for the [riesling] grape is [this wine], made for [The Society] by the highly
regarded Josmeyer company just outside the pretty town of Colmar, in the hands
of the same family since 1854 and now run by two sisters on biodynamic
principles. Gorgeous floral aromas, a pure, ethereal touch on the palate with
refreshing, lovely apple and peach flavours; ideal with shellfish. - Terry Kirby"
Mr Alex Downham (13-Jul-2017)
"This is a classic Alsace Riesling , beautifully balanced , a delight!
I.m sure this will delelope beautifully in 3 or 4 years time and then will be a match for foix gras. I'm going to buy some more."
Mr Alan Dickinson (28-Mar-2017)
Press & Journal (8th Jul 2017)
"Ripe with apples and
honey. Dry, rich and intense, there are flavours of peach and lime. - Carol Brown"
"Green melon nose. Perry flavour. Acidic with light fizz. Nice mid palette. Slightly hot finish. Solid but not distinctive."
Mr Jonathan Bohane (08-Sep-2016)
Mr Robert Hudson (12-Aug-2016)
"I was very disappointed with this Riesling which was very thin and watery. I have two more bottles and will try again."
Dr Stuart Gould (09-Jun-2015)
"Very pleasant Riesling, with citrus and mineral notes. Not terribly complex, might be worth leaving it for a couple of years to see how it develops."
Mr John Stephenson (02-May-2015)
"Not really what I expected, subdued and a little bland in my opinion."
Mr David Jones-Percival (24-Sep-2014)
"Not really what you'd expect from a Riesling - I found this wine somewhat flabby with none of the crisp acidity in the finish you'd normally associate with a Riesling. The flavours are fairly subtle - I wasn't expecting the bold fruitiness of a New World version, but even from this region you'd expect a bit more character. To be honest, if I'd been blind tasting I'd have been more likely to guess Viognier for this one than Riesling."
Mr Barry Smith (31-Aug-2014)
"Having tried quite a few Josmeyers wines I thought this was a bit below par. His wines are normally racey and charismatic - this is not. Mabye I had a bad bottle?"
Mr Lewis Piper (23-Aug-2014)
"Fresh light and delicious. Hints of lemon. I found this wine suitable for many different occasions."
Mr Harry Gladstone (16-Aug-2014)
"Very disappointing. Rather thin; none of that characteristic Rielsing fruity nose; slightly acid. No comparison with earlier Exhibition Hugels & Trimbachs."
Mr Gavin Morris (03-Nov-2013)
"I have to admit to being a bit of a Riesling novice, and was trying this to learn more about the style. From what I've heard I expected some really powerful and distinctive aromas, but this wine is certainly muted in that respect. There's certainly nothing wrong with this wine - it has a nice length and refreshing, but not too powerful, acidity, but aromatically it's barely more exciting than a Pinot Grigio. There is a touch of lemon and, if you search hard enough, there could be some grapefruit, muscat and linden. However, if you are expecting the aromatic intensity of a Sauvignon Blanc or a Gewürztraminer then it is not to be found in this wine. It will be interesting to try an Australian Riesling to see how it compares."
Mr Barry Smith (07-Jul-2013)
"Sometimes Riesling can be too zingy and acidic, but this one is beautifully mellow and balanced, really nice mineral flinty flavour too."
Mr Thomas Kyle (14-May-2013)
"The 2011 is distinctively Alsatian Riesling and an excellent thoroughbred example. Quite distinctively different from German (of course) but also Australian and Kiwi. Loved it with and without food. But distinctive I.e. a different taste to generic riesling if there is such a thing."
Mr Charles Stokes (10-Apr-2013)
"I have to admit I so like Riesling that my preference is to drink it on its own and not too cold. My comments relate to a 2008. On the 1st day it was too young and too sharp/acidic so I was not impressed. On the second day it was still the same and I was beginning to think I had made a bad buy but on the 3rd day it had mellowed and become a delightful drink, a perfect Alsace Riesling. So my advice to those buying the 2011 is to put it away for a few years and then open it well in advance. You will be rewarded."
Mr Bill George (13-Mar-2013)
"After years of searching, I finally succeeded 10 years ago in persuading my partner of the joy of Riesling (Gassmann of Alsace). Since then, we've graduated to super value-for-money New World Riesling, particularly Clare Valley & NZ. Sadly then, our disappointment with the Society's Exhibition 2007 Riesling. Not faulty, but tending to bland, lacking intensity, somewhat over-sulphured & no suggestion of likely further development - holding back half a bottle a few days produced little change. And not a good advert for bio dynamic wine.
Mr William R Williams (01-Feb-2012)
"This is must be the best Riesling I have tasted in its price range. Pure yet rich in flavour without being too assertive, it goes astonishingly well with almost any food that doesn't demand a red. Superb value and highly enjoyable."
Mr Michael J Debenham (20-Jan-2012)
"Highly recommend - compliments Asian food perfectly."
Mr Richard Taylor (07-Jan-2010)
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The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
We always include the abv (alcohol by volume) in our wines online, in our Lists and in our offers. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
It is generally accepted that over the last 20 years or so alcohol levels in wine have been increasing. There are many reasons why, including but not limited to the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most strip the flavour as well as the alcohol, and we don't buy wines made in this way.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Our tasting notes should be able to give you an idea of the style and fullness of an individual wine.
We are committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows you to make your own informed choices.
An additional figure used on some labels (including all our Society and Exhibition wines) is the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content (so a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units ).
For more information, please get in touch with us or visit drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork. As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years. Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
If the product page says:
...then our advice would be:
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Ready to drink now but will keep until the year shown.
We recommend keeping longer before opening. For example, a wine will be ready to drink in 2020 but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.