Paul & Philippe Zinck Pinot Blanc 2008

Exactly a year ago, I reviewed the 2009 vintage of this Pinot Blanc. Comparing notes it will be quite interesting to compare both. Just like last year, the end of may had its sunny days and this time around we are going crazy over asparagus (the white ones) at home. First time around we had Asparagus with the Zenato Pinot Grigio 2013, this time we’ll take a classic one from Alsatia. Quite an oldie actually since these wines aren’t made for keeping around for a longer time, but I never had a problem with White Wines from Alsatia.

Zinck Pinot BlancColor: White wine with a slight green tint.

Nose: Fresh and citrussy. Slight hint of melon (but without the sweetness). Creamy calcium and flinty. Hints of white peach. Smells quite citrussy and acidic. This may very well be quite a sour example, but we’ll see. Even though this is supposed to be quite a simple Wine, there is a lot going on in the nose.

Taste: Yes, quite acidic. Roter vitamin C. Is it too high in its acids, well no, not even for me. I usually don’t like over acidic Wines, but this one is do-able. After the acidity leaves the mouth, a more syrupy feel gets a chance to present itself. IS a bit the depth of syrup, but this time without the sweetness. Hard to explain. Although probably not present, but you never know in a difficult year; it seems to ave some wood. Toward the finish it calms down a bit, getting less about the acidity, but having drunk a whole bottle yesterday the acidity was something you get used too.

2008 was a challenging year for Alsatian Wines. The 2008 vintage is known for higher acidity, and yes, that’s true for this one too. I wouldn’t drink a whole bottle of this by itself, too high in its acids, but it is a nice and simple Pinot Blanc. Together with White asparagus, excellent. This Pinot needs food. Compared to the 2009 vintage, this is better balanced but also less sweet and more acidic. My wife preferred the Zenato with Asparagus. I had fun with both, but just a little bit more fun with this Zinck. Big difference between the 2008 and the 2009 vintage though.

Points: 78

La Cave Du Vieil Armand Grand Cru Ollwiller Pinot Gris 2007

Ollwiller, which is a Grand Cru since 1983, lies in the municipality of Wuenheim (Close to the famous Grand Cru of Rangen near Thann), is named after the Château d’Ollwiller that was built in the 12th century A.D. The Ollwiller castle is the former estate of the Bishop of Strasbourg, who was behind the development of the vine in the thirteenth century A.D. The castle is now owned by the Gros family since 1825, cowinemakers and co-founders of the Cave of the Old-Armand.

The vines are situated in a dry microclimate with only 450 mm of rain per annum. The vines are sheltered from the wind by the Hartmannswillerkopf a.k.a. Old-Armand where some heavy fighting in World War I took place, which also destroyed all the vineyards. Its slopes face south-east, with maximum sunshine on an altitude between 260 and 330 m. The soil is composed of conglomerates (loosely cemented heterogeneous material) and marl, reddish sandy clay and gravel.      

La Cave Du Vieil Armand Grand Cru Ollwiller Pinot Gris 2007Color: Light gold with a slight pink touch

Nose: Full on everything, overwhelmingly aromatic. Expect nice sweetness, acidity, fruit, white grapes and also something flinty a trace of sulphur, although it isn’t in the terroir. Marl is. Yellow fruits like white peach (lighter and more elegant compared to the more “common” peach) and dried apricots and pear. Also tighter fruits like white grapes. All of this is in the background adding to the complex nose. This is so much more than just a fruity wine. Unbelievable how well the sweet and the acidity blend together, and don’t forget this is just the nose we’re talking about.

Taste: Thick and syrupy, but not very sweet. Again just like the nose, very good balance and all tastes blend well together. Hints of peach yoghurt, but also a well-defined depth of dried apricots. Fantastic stuff this is. Not as mineral as I’ve expected, but great acidity to keep it in check. Don’t get me wrong it’s not very sweet nor is it acidic, it’s just perfect, although I have to say that the taste is less complex than the nose is.

This gem will do with a lot of foods, yes, we can mention de usual suspects like salads and fish, coquilles etc. But this one is excellent on its own. Sitting back with a nicely chilled “Old Armand” is the way to enjoy it for me. This should only be sold in Magnum sized bottles. Wonderful, This is again an example, why I love Alsatian wines so much.

Points: 90

This review is dedicated to Yvonne and Joost. If you can read dutch please check out their website about Alsatian Wines.

Paul & Philippe Zinck Pinot Blanc 2009

And suddenly the sun came out! Nice temperature so I felt like a nice light and refreshing wine. I have a batch of Pinot Blancs lying around for the white asparagus season, but thought I would give this one a try by itself, for me you never can go wrong with an Alsatian Wine. This Pinot Blanc is made by Domaine Zinck from Eguisheim, Alsace, France. Zinck have four great Grand Crus: Eichberg, Pfersigberg, Goldert and Rangen. The last two I also know from Zind-Humbrecht. Spectacular stuff. This Pinot Blanc is from the “Portrait” line of wines and are made as an introduction to Wine. We call that entry-level. Zinck Pinot Blanc

Color: light yellow with a slight green tint, medium viscosity

Nose: Flowery and half sweet. Meaty and buttery with hints of earth. Quite a “thick” and aromatic nose (lots of yellow fruits), seems sweet at first. Vegetal and herbal, maybe sage. Coastal (the terroir is silty), and fruity, melon-style.

Taste: Syrupy sweet. The acidity is in check. The sweetness and the acidity somehow doesn’t seem to be well married together. Something not quite right and I can not put my finger on it. The fruity melons are here too, and just like the nose, “thick”. Quite some bitterness too, that stays well into the finish. Where it shouldn’t be. Chewy and behind it all sweeter than it appears to be.

Pinot Blanc is not Alsace’s favourite grape variety, and I guess this wine shows why. It is recommended with food, asparagus. Don’t have that here at the moment, but I’ve tried it with a salad, OK and with spicy chicken legs, that was quite good actually. Since the wine is quite thick the Pinot Blanc managed the spicy chicken well. Easily drinkable. I personally didn’t like this as much as a lot of other wines from the region, but it does seem to fare better with food than on its own. Well just a matter of taste really, since my wife did love this on its own and is more than happy to drink the rest of the bottles that are in the cellar.

Points: 77

Heim Riesling Grand Cru Praelatenberg 2006

Christmas time is here again, and I needed a decent bottle of wine for Christmas dinner as a companion to sauerkraut and fish. I do like Alsace, so this time I pulled out a Grand Cru Riesling from Praelatenberg. Praelatenberg is one of 51 Alsatian Grand Crus, that got this status in the big expansion of 17 December 1992. It is located between Kintzheim and Orschwiller, and is the most southerly of the Grand Cru sites of the Bas-Rhin.

PraelatenbergAbove Praeatenberg towers the Koenigsbourg castle, built in the 12th century. The altitude of Praelatenberg slopes ranges from 250 to 350 metres and has an east-south-east orientation with a size of 18.7 Ha. The granite bedrock that underlies all Alsace vineyards is very close to the surface. The soil is heavy, covered with loose schist, and is rich with silicium. Dotted with stones rich with iron, quartz and other minerals. This helps the warming of the ground and lets water through easily.

Heim is now owned by Bestheim, a cooperation that was founded in 2000 by the merger of two smaller cooperations from the villages of Bennwihr & Westhalten, together with the house of Heim.

Color: Straw Yellow.

Nose: Very clean and citrussy. Lemon. Through the freshness and the acidity there is another layer, that at first seems sweet, but also has a creamy peachy element to it. A sort of light non-fat whipped cream of lemon and peach. Very nice. Sweet as in coffee-caramel sweets we know over here as Haagsche Hopjes. Also a slightly meaty sensation.

Taste: It starts with a nice fresh and not overly acidic lemon and chalk. Do you know those little vitamin C pills by Roter? Well, that too. Again a tiny hint of peach. Really subdued and elegant. The finish comes quick and is soon gone, what really is a shame. Always there, is that little bit of acidity that makes your mouth water, and lest not forget that added creaminess. Not very complex.

The taste maybe a bit too simple, in the nose maybe a little bit too. Still it’s a nice wine. It does have a nice balance, but overall it could have done with some added depth and complexity. Easy to drink, and should hold well when aged. ABV is 12%.

Points: 82

Picture is for the Riesling Reserve. Our Grand Cru looks similar (brown glass).

Short Stories: Kuentz-Bas Pinot Gris Tradition 2007

Kuentz-Bas Pinot Gris Tradition 2007, ABV 13%, Husseren Les Châteaux, Alsace

Color: Light White Wine.

Nose: Already a balance between sweet and sour. A bit flinty maybe, and a hint of Galia melon. Very fresh and light. Perfumy.

Taste: Well, not very sweet at first. Dryish and simple. Not overly acidic, so there is balance. I would have thought that some yellow fruit would stick out, but none of that. It has a fuller body for a second or two, and dissipates in a very light and slightly warming and short finish. After some time, there is some more sweetness to it. The perfumy note that was there in the end of the nose, seems to creep into the finish too. Easy drinkable.

Definitively better with fish than meat.

Have a look at: http://www.kuentz-bas.fr/index_en.html

Points: 79

Short Stories: Klug Gewurztraminer 2009

Caves Klug Gewurztraminer 2009, ABV 13%, Bennwhir, Alsace

Color: White Wine.

Nose: Lychee, thin exotic Gewurztraminer nose, citrussy, all very subdued.

Taste: Very thin, some lychee and dried apricots, typical Gewurztraminer yet very light. Don’t give it to children it still is 13%! Decent lemonade for in the summer, not with food. Even boiled rice would overpower it.

Won a gold medal at the 2010 grand concours des vins d’Alsace in Colmar. Well that’s possible. But it must have been in the el cheapo category. It’s definitively ok, but very very simple. Get a chilled bottle, put a straw in it and take five minutes on a park bench in the sun. So it does have a purpose, and hey, it still brings me back to the region. Flammenkuchen anyone?

Points: 71