31 March 2006 – Ribeauvillé, France
Trimbach – “France, but efficient,” is a commonly-heard phrase on the subject of Alsace. I’ve never been criticized for a few minutes’ lateness in any other part of France, but here…well, it’s a mistake I made once, and won’t make again. In Alsace, punctuality is actually considered a virtue. Imagine that.
And so, we’re in the Trimbach courtyard at the exact time specified. But we’re alone. Because our winemaker is late.
Granted, he has an excuse. He’s sick. Very sick. Were marketing guru Jean Trimbach, (who usually receives us on our semi-regular visits) not traipsing across Scotland with Olivier Humbrecht…and there is a buddy film to explosively depressurize the heads of Alsatian wine fans…winemaker Pierre Trimbach would probably be benefiting from a much-needed convalescence. Instead, he has to take a pair of overeager Americans through a tasting for which it is not consistently clear he has the energy. Or, it must be noted, the nose, given the frequency with which he sniffles and snorts. As the tasting proceeds, his energy flags, but then…as we head into the heart of the better rieslings…rebounds with passionate intensity. Certainly, winemakers often seem to live (and die) for their work, and Pierre is no exception. We only hope he’ll stay vertical to the end of the tasting. Because to be honest, second wind or not, he doesn’t look that great.