01 December 2006

TN: Five Trimbachs (not all of them white)

Trimbach 2002 Pinot Gris “Réserve” (Alsace) – Better and brighter than the last few vintages, with a light-filled crystalline aspect sparkling amidst ripe pear. There’s also a significant drying tone to the finish. Restrained and pure. (11/06)

Trimbach 2003 Riesling “Cuvée Frédéric Émile” (Alsace) – This announces itself rather sharply, but fails to deliver on its volume, except with a rather formless weight. Aromatically, the wine is far superior to, say, the contextually blowsy 1997 in that it delivers a fairly classic CFE profile of molten iron and shattered malic ice with salted apple, but structurally the wine is very reminiscent of a big Austrian riesling opened and consumed without aging or aeration: weight, but not enough presence. The hope that this, like the 1997, will provide good near-term drinking while waiting for better vintages to develop is, I’m afraid, misguided. (11/06)

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre” (Alsace) – Classic and true to type, with significant salty minerality underneath vivid but balanced lychee dust, caramelized cashew and bright peach/pear aromas. There’s pretty good acidity, as well. Not a genre-defining gewurztraminer, but eminently typical for this house, and showing all the proper elements for a good decade’s aging. (11/06)

Trimbach 1997 Pinot Noir “Réserve Personnelle” (Alsace) – An adventurous choice. This is certainly the best pinot noir I’ve tasted from Trimbach. If that sounds like qualified praise, it is; the wine has good weight, a lot of worthy varietal characteristics (earthy cherry and autumn leaves, mostly, though there’s some wet morel as well), and has held up and developed well enough. However, there is – and there’s no mistaking it – the dreaded “hot dog” aroma that so often afflicts Alsace pinot noir. I’m not sure what the problem is – soil, clones, winemaking – but it seems that whenever a pinot noir rises above the biting rosé-like horde, it stands a better-than-average chance of turning to fermented frankfurter. It’s strange. (11/06)

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) – Trimbach’s late-harvest gewurztraminers are as solidly excellent as their rieslings, though they rarely reach the exalted heights of those wines. This is no exception: striking ripe stone fruit and lychee are paired with bright, freshening acidity and a solid, sun-drenched mineral core. The sweetness is significant, yet the wine’s structure is such that any trace of “stickiness” is thoroughly absent. Drink it now, drink it in ten years, drink it in twenty…it’ll be beautiful at any age. (11/06)

2 comments:

Ken Sternberg said...

Do you think the '03 Frederic Emile suffered from the abnormally hot season that year? Did Alsace suffer like the rest of France? It's a shame, since this is usually a pretty amazing wine.

thor iverson said...

Yes I do. In fact, all the '03s I've tasted at Trimbach (which, to be fair, are far from all the '03s they made) suffered in some way.