I had the pleasure of tasting some odd old bottles the other day. Thank you to the master Mr. Smurf, who brought these rare bottles from his own cellar. They were all in pristine conditions, and lived up to the reputation they deserve. All wines were served blind.
2003 Zind Humbrecht, Riesling Thann, Alsace – very yellow in the glass with an open nose and aromas of mature lychee, white peach and a flowery scent that reminded me of hand soap. Not really any petrol, but still very mature Riesling on the nose. The palate showed a good balance between acidity and mature fruit flavors. Still a lot of flowers, and a mature fruit style. The alcohol seemed a little low, so I guessed Germany about 10 years. After revelation I was surprised how well this showed for a hot vintage 2003. Maybe the hot vintage was why this showed no signs of petrol?
Zind Humbrecht is recognized as a top producer in Alsace, and his Riesling always shows some of the more elegant intense style in the region.
1999 Marcel Deiss, Burg, Alsace – deeper in color with more amber. Looked, and smelled, more mature. I guessed 5 years older than the first. Roasted almonds, apricot and mature pineapple. The palate showed relative low acidity, with a small sweetness. Creamy texture, where the sweet spot was well balanced by the intense fruit and medium acidity. The wines seemed very mature, but not going downhill for the next few years. It developed bitterness on the backpalate that wasn’t too nice, after only 10 minuttes in the glass.
Marcel Deiss is a very strong spokesman for the Biodynamic farming principles, but more interesting is that he believes that Terroir is more important than grape, also in Alsace. That is why most of his better wines are bottled only with the vineyard mentioned, and not the grape. The Burg vineyard has 13 different grapes on it. The wine tasted primarily of Pinot Gris, with a strong hint of Riesling. The classic spicy notes from the Gewürztraminer were not present, but the more mellow notes from Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner could have been there. I don’t think I will ever be the greatest fan of Deiss.
After that, a few more bottles arrived. Notes to come…