Champagne village profile: Œuilly on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Œuilly 201504Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 138.9 hectares (343.2 acres), of which50% Pinot Meunier, 27% Pinot Noir, and 23% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (84%)
Noted for: home village of Tarlant

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
North: Reuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northnorthwest: Binson-et-Orquigny (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northwest: Châtillon-sur-Marne (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)

On the left bank of the Marne
Eastsoutheast: Boursault
Southsoutheast: Saint-Martin-d’Ablois (part of the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay)
South: Festigny (via a strip of land in the eastern part of that commune)
Southwest: Leuvrigny
Westnorthwest: Mareuil-le-Port
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The church in Œuilly, Église Saint-Memmie. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Nicole-christiane Paladini, 2012).

The village

Œuilly is located along the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river.

The Œuilly commune covers 930 hectares and has 613 inhabitants (as of 2012), referred to as uliacois and uliacoises.

In Œuilly, there is a museum called Ecomusée Champenois à Œuilly, consisting of three parts showing what everyday life in the neighbourhood could look like around the year 1900: La Maison Champenois (home of a winegrowing family), L’Ecole 1900 (a village school), and Le Musée de la Goutte (a distillery). The museum is presented in the video below (French, no subtitles):

Vineyards

The vineyards in Œuilly consist mostly of mild north-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety, but also a rather high proportion of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The current vineyard surface in the Œuilly commune is 138.9 hectares (343.2 acres). There are 69.3 ha Pinot Meunier (49.9%), 37 ha Pinot Noir (26.6%), and 32.5 ha Chardonnay (23.4%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 134 ha. There are 85 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Single vineyard sites

  • Four à Chaux. Tarlant’s cuvée BAM! are produced from grapes from this vineyard and Les Sables. Grapes from this vineyard are also used for the vintage rosé.
  • Les Crayons. Tarlant’s Cuvée Louis are produced from old vines in this vineyard.
  • Les Sables. Tarlant’s La Vigne d’Antan are produced from ungrafted Chardonnay from this vineyard, and BAM! is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Four à Chaux. (I’m somewhat uncertain if Les Sables is the actual name of a single vineyard site, or if it is used as a collective name for vineyards with sandy soils, since sable is French for sand.)
  • Longue Attente. Tarlant’s Œuilly Rouge is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame. Tarlant’s Œuilly Rouge is produced from grapes from this vineyard and from Longue Attente. Grapes from this vineyard are also used for the vintage rosé.
  • Pierre de Bellevue. Tarlant’s LVigne d’Or is produced from old vine Pinot Meunier in this vineyard.

Champagne producers

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Bruno Cez (RC)
  • André Cez-Rondeau (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants with 5.5 ha of vineyards in Œuilly, Boursault, and Vauciennes.
  • François Chaumont (RM) has theor entire vineyard holdings of 5 ha (2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay) in Puisieulx (in the Grande Montagne de Reims). As far as I know, the Champagnes of François Chaumont are the only monocrus from the grand cru village Puisieulx. François Chaumont is married to Marie-Hélène Littière, daughter of Michel Littière, which is the reason the production takes place at a common location Earlier, the grapes were sent to a cooperative.
  • Doudard-Fontaine
  • Jean Lagache
  • Philippe Lemaire (RM)
  • Alain Littière (RM), has vineyards with 50% Pinot Noir (three-quarters in Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Avenay-Val-d’Or), 30% Pinot Meunier in the Vallée de la Marne, and 20% Chardonnay in the Vallée de la Marne and Aÿ.
  • Gérard Littière
  • Michel Littière (RM), has 5.5 ha of vineyards in the Œuilly area.
  • Ghislain Moigneau & Fils
  • André Patis
  • Rasselet Père & Fils (RM), has 9 ha of vineyards, including 1 ha of old Chardonnay vines in Côte des Blancs.
  • Tarlant (RM), without doubt the most well-known Champagne producer of the village, led by Jean-Mary Tarlant and Benoît Tarlant, and often found at lists of the better producers of the region. Has 14 ha of vineyards (so a rather large “small grower”) in Œuilly, Boursault, Saint-Agnan, and Celles-lès-Condé; the two last villages are found in the Terroir de Condé. Altogether there are about 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. Uses some oak barrels for the vinification and uses a low dosage of 0-6 g/l for all cuvées. The traditional top cuvée is called Cuvée Louis, is non-vintage and is produced from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from old vines in the Les Crayons vineyards and released at a rather high age. Currently (2015), the base vintage is 1999 (85% of the cuvée). The range also includes a number of Champagnes collectively called “Terroir Revelations”, that represent a modern small grower style as well as some more odd choices of grape material. There is an ungrafted Chardonnay called La Vigne d’Antan (from a vineyard in Œuilly with sandy soils, Les Sables), a Pinot Meunier from old vines (in the Pierre de Bellevue vineyard) called LVigne d’Or, a Pinot Noir (from the Mocque Tonneau vineyard in Celles-lès-Condé) called LVigne Royale (this name chosen since the French royal court once upon a time liked to do outings to Celles-les-Condé) and finally BAM!, a cuvée of three of the four unusual grape varieties of Champagne, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier (from the vineyards Four à Chaux and Les Sables). The range also includes a vintage Œuilly Rouge (from the Notre Dame and Longue Attente vineyards), which is a still red Coteaux Champenois. Finally, I can’t avoid naming a one-off cuvée that is no longer part of the range: QV Discobitch that was released in 2008 (and is supposed to consist of 1/3 each of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir from the 2005 vintage) in a highly kitschy bottle with the name Discobitch written using over 300 shiny crystals (“strass-diamants”) and QV in gold. A very unusual move for a serious small grower, since this type of conspicuous bottle usually indicates either a mediocre content or grotesque overpricing, and neither fits Tarlant. The cuvée was produced for two Parisian DJs that produce songs under the name Discobitch. Below their most well-known video, C’est Beau La Bourgeoisie, which doesn’t contain any picture of the bottle but which does mention Champagne, followed by a video where Benoît Tarlant shows the grapes for the 2012 vintage of BAM!:

Anm: det är inte säkert att listan är komplett.

Cooperatives

  • Coopérative La Solidarité is a cooperative with 69 medlemmar with a total of 37.16 of vineyards. The Champagnes are sold under the brand:
    • P. Germont

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015

Posted in Champagne villages | Leave a comment

Zind-Humbrecht with a focus on Clos Windsbuhl

Outside the entrance of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. I took this picture during a visit in March 2007 and it is linked from Wikimedia Commons.

Zind-Humbrecht is one of the very best wine producers in Alsace, if not the very best. This producer is located in the Turckheim village and was created in its present form in 1959 from vineyard holdings of the Zind family of Wintzenheim and the Humbrecht family of Gueberschwihr. They purchased quite a lot of vineyards in the 1960s and 1970s, which was a period when many owners sold steep vineyards, since they weren’t considered profitable.

The person who did Zind-Humbrecht to what they are today is primarily Olivier Humbrecht, who took over the domain from his parents in 1989.

The style of the Zind-Humbrecht wines is fruity and concentrated, as well as often showing fine minerality. The residual sweetness varies, but irrespective of fully dry or quite sweet, they almost always display quite good balance. Worth noting is that also the “entry level” wines, i.e., those that don’t have any vineyard designation, are quite good and possess a weight that are only found in grand cru wines in many other producers’ ranges.

Outside the tasting room of Zind-Humbrechts, which has a view of several of their vineyards in Wintzenheim and Turckheim. I took this picture during a visit in March 2007, and it is linked from Wikimedia Commons.

Vineyards

Zind-Humbrecht has 41.1 hectares (101.6 acres) of vineyards, of which over 10 ha are in grand cru sites and 25 ha are in other good vineyard sites that fully or partially are bottled with a vineyard designation. From south to north they are in the villages listed below. Vineyards in boldface are those that were represented at the tasting I write about below.

  • 5.5 ha in the village of Thann
    • All 5.5 ha in the Rangen de Thann vineyard, which is a grand cru. Zind-Humbrecht’s part is also called Clos Saint Urbain on the labels. Grape varieties cultivated here are 2.7 ha Pinot Gris, 2.3 ha Riesling, and 0.5 ha Gewurztraminer.
  • 2.2 ha in Gueberschwihr
    • 0.9 ha in Goldert, a grand cru. Here primarily Muscat is cultivated, of which approx. 90% is the more expressive Muscat d’Alsace (=Muscat à Petits Grains) and approx. 10% the more easily grown Muscat Ottonel, which they’ve decided to phase out from their vineyards. There is also some Gewurztraminer here.
    • In other vineyards in the village, Gewurztraminer and Riesling can be found. Currently, they primarily go into the wines named “Calcaire” (after their soils).
  • 7.3 ha in Wintzenheim, a neighbour of Turckheim.
    • 1.4 ha in Hengst, a grand cru. Currently, only Gewurztraminer is cultivated here, but one plot will be planted to Riesling. Hengst is visible from Zind-Humbrecht’s tasting room in the neighbouring village.
    • 1.8 ha in Rotenberg, which is located higher up on the same hill as Hengst. Here we find 0.5 ha Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois used for their “Pinot d’Alsace”, and 1.2 ha Pinot Gris.
    • 1.2 ha in Clos Häuserer, which is located below Hengst. Riesling is cultivated here.
    • In other vineyards in the village there is alo Gewurztraminer. Currently, they primarily go into the wines named “Calcaire”. Earlier, Pinot Noir was also cultivated in the village.
  • 19.8 ha in Turckheim, the home village of Zind-Humbrecht.
    • 2,4 ha in Brand, a grand cru. Riesling only.
    • 11,5 ha in Herrenweg de Turckheim, which is the largest vineyard site of Zind-Humbrecht and is located around their facility outside of Turckheim. Several different grape varieties are planted in Herrenweg, and many of the wines without vineyard designation in their range originate wholly or partially from this vineyard. Vineyard-designated wines from here are produced from Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat (currently mostly Muscat d’Alsace, and a proportion of Muscat Ottonel that is being reduced), but not in every vintage. Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois are also cultivated here for non-vineyard designated wines.
    • 1,3 ha in Clos Jebsal. Pinot Gris only.
    • 4 ha in Heimbourg, which is located next to Brand. 1.6 ha Pinot Gris is cultivated in the upper part, 1 ha Gewurztraminer below, and on the south-facing side there are 1.15 ha Riesling and 0.3 ha Pinot Noir.
  • 0.32 ha in Niedermorschwihr
    • 0,32 ha in Sommerberg, a grand cru. A small plot in this vineyard was purchased in 2010, and the existing Gewurztraminer wines were replaced with Riesling, which was finished in 2013, when biodynamic conversion was initiated. So far, no wine has been released from this vineyard, and they don’t expect to sell the wine under the vineyard name the first years.
  • 6.0 ha in Hunawihr
    • 5,15 ha in Clos Windsbuhl. The largest part is planted to Pinot Gris, followed by Gewurztraminer and Riesling. There is also a plot of Chardonnay and Auxerrois used for “Zind”.

Zind-Humbrecht wines without vineyard designation often originate from Herrenweg, from small vineyards (a couple of hectares all together) that aren’t bottled under their own vineyard designation, from plots of young vines in other vineyards or from “down-classified” grapes from these vineyards. Since Zind-Humbrecht is a domaine, everything comes from their own vineyards and nothing is bought in.

They used to produce some wines under village names, but changed rules means that they had to stop this. The weird explanation is that there is a requirement that several producers use the designation for it to be allowed, and Zind-Humbrecht has in several cases been alone in using the village name for a certain grap variety. Also, the maximum allowed yield is slightly lower if the village name is indicated (but still much higher than what is practiced by Zind-Humbrecht), and this apparently makes some producers in these villages lose interest. I assume the wines of such producers (that overcrop or at least wish to preserve the option of overcropping) are hardly worth much more attention than a yawn.

Clos Windsbuhl

Clos Windsbuhl. Picture linked from Zind-Humbrechts webbplats.

Clos Windsbuhl was something of a focus of this tasting. It is the northernmost vineyard of Zind-Humbrecht, and it is located in Hunawihr, which is located between Riquewihr (a pleasant “tourist trap” and home to e.g. Hugel and both Dopffs: & Irion and au Moulin) and Ribeauvillé (where e.g. Trimbach is located). As it happens, Clos Windsbuhl is located only a few hundred meters from Clos Sainte Hune, the flagship vineyard of Trimbach, and part of the Rosacker grand cru. Clos Windsbuhl isn’t a grand cru, but has enjoyed a very good reputation for quite a long time.

The church of the village, Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, is the foremost landmark of  Hunawihr. Clos Windsbuhl is located closer to the edge of the forest and to the left of this picture. Linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Psu973, 2012).

The exposure is south to southwest and the inclination is 15-40%. The vineyard has a relatively high location and close to the forest, so it is a vineyard with a cool location where the grapes ripen late. This means that the vineyard performs well also in hot vintages. The soil is different from the rest of the commune, and consist of muschelkalk with the underlaying rock close to the surface.

Zind-Humbrecht bought the vineyard in 1987 and produced their first wines from here in the 1988 vintage. When they planted Gewürztraminer here, many considered it madness given the cool location, but they feel it has worked out fine.

Residual sugar in the wines of Zind-Humbrecht

Zind-Humbrecht’s ambition to produce wines in a concentrated style and their low yields mean that they often will end up with high ripesness in their grapes. As far as I know, Zind-Humbrecht was one of the pioneers of the “concentrated and fruity” style of Alsace wines. If high ripeness is achieved, there may often be residual sugar left in the wine, even when it is not really produced to be a sweet wine. This is particularly true of Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer, since they regularly ripen to a higher sugar concentration in the grape must compared to Riesling.

I don’t know of any other Alsace producers whose wines can carry their residual sugar better than those of Zind-Humbrecht, since there is so much “good stuffing” in them. That said, the Z-H wines do vary quite a lot in style. There is variation between vineyards and grape varieties, but there is also vintage variation. It’s therefore quite useuful to be able to know approximately how sweet a wine is in a certain vintage.

Zind-Humbrecht indice 1+4

Note the “indice” designation below the alcohol level, in small print. The label on the left says indice 1, and the one on the right indice 4.

As an aid to their customers, since 2001 Zind-Humbrecht puts an “indice” number on the labels of all their wines. This indice goes from 1 to 5 and indicate the sweetness of the wine:

  • 1 means completely dry, or at least a completely dry impression.
  • 2 means almost dry; although the wine technically isn’t dry, the residual sugar isn’t too obvious, but rather adds body or roundness to the wine.
  • 3 means off-dry, with an impression of some sweetness that can gradually decrease with cellaring.
  • 4 means a noticeable sweetness (off-dry to semi-sweet)
  • 5 means high sweetnss, in principle a Vendange Tardive (late harvested wine), but without sufficient botrytis (noble rot) character for Zind-Humbrecht to use that designation.

Unfortunately, it seems that few wine merchants write the indice number in their lists of wines, but detailed data for the last vintages can be found on the Zind-Humbrecht website.

Wines tasted

The wines mentioned below were served at a tasting that were held on the evening after the Alsace wine day in Stockolm in the end of January. The tasting was hosted by the Swedish importer Viunic and the wines were presented by a representative of Zind-Humbrecht.

A significant part of this tasting consisted of a comparison between the 2011 or 2012 vintage versus the 2008 vintage in Clos Windsbuhl, for the three varietal wines produced from this vineyard: Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. I must say that I found the concenctrated style of Zind-Humbrecht and a vineyard in a cool location to be a very favourable combination, and the wines were quite impressive.

ZH kvällsprovning 20150126

2011 Zind
60-65% Chardonnay and 35-40% Auxerrois from Clos Windsbuhl, raised in oak. Indice 2 (residual sugar 11 g/l).

Medium yellow colour. Nose with some mineral and smoke, freshly cut apple, discrete notes of melon and tropical fuit, and a discrete oak note. Medium body, slightly spicy with oak barrel notes, apple, some stone fruit including light peach, minerality, and an aftertaste with apple and some spice. Foody, 88-89 p.

This wine has a bit of a peculiar history. In Alsace, the use of Chardonnay is allowed in the region’s sparkling wine appellation, Crémant d’Alsace, but not in the regular Alsace appellation that applies to the still wines. On the tier below in the French wine classification, there isn’t any IGP (formerly Vin de Pays) designation that covers Alsace, so if a non-allowed grape variety is used, the wine has to be declassified all the way to the high unspecific Vin de France (formerly Vin de Table) designation. Not only does this mean that the label may no longer say “Alsace”, in former times this also meant that neigher grape varieties or vintage could be indicated. Most good producers that had to declassify their wines to Vin de Table usually showed a bit of revolutionary spirit and found a way to indicate the vintage in the form of a easily decipherable batch number. In the case of Zind, a Z was used together with the last three digits of the vintage year, e.g. Z005 for 2005 (with the zeroes shaped as wine barrels). As far as I know, it is today allowed to indicate the vintage for a Vin de France, but Zind-Humbrecht has apparently continued to use the same type of labels, so this wine says Z011. This wine has been called Zind and been a Vin de Table/Vin de France from the 2001 vintage, and before that it was called Pinot d’Alsace, which in the 1990s seems to have consisted of more Auxerrois than Chardonnay, plus a small proportion of Pinot Blanc, and was sourced from more vineyards than just Clos Windsbuhl. The other vineyards are today probably used for their Pinot Blanc.

2012 Heimbourg Riesling
Indice 2 (residual sugar 15 g/l).

Deep yellow colour. Nose with citrus, zest, some peach, discrete flowery notes, some stony minerality, and hints of honey and dried fruit. The palate is relatively dry (but not fully dry), noticeably spicy, and almost a little fiery with good acidity, citrus, and ripe apple. Somewhat heavy for a Riesling and shows a bit of Pinot Gris-like character rather than just the classical Riesling elegance, but this means that it is a food-styled and spicy wine. 88-89 p

2011 Clos Windsbuhl Riesling
Indice 1 (residual sugar 4.3 g/l)

Nose with pronounced and stony minerality, citrus, zest, and some petroleum notes. An elegant and classically firm Riesling nose. Dry on the palate, firm, pronounced minerality with stony character, citrus, high acidity, and an aftertaste with a lot of minerality. Firm and young, 90+ p.

2008 Clos Windsbuhl Riesling
Indice 1 (residual sugar 8 g/l)

Discrete nose with yellow apples including some winter apples, some smoke and spice notes, a hint of cocoa powder, some stony minerality, some mature notes with initially a hint of petroleum. After a while, more petroleum as well as citrus entered into the mix, which made this wine a progressively more classical Riesling. Dry palate (but not really bone dry) with a lot of citrus, powerful concentration, high acidity and minerality. Foody but firm and elegant, still rather young. 91(+) p

Both Rieslings from Clos Windsbuhl shows the interesting combination of power and firmness that can be achieved when the Zind-Humbrecht style is combined with a fully dry wine from a cooler vineyard site.

2012 Rotenberg Pinot Gris
Indice 1 (residual sugar 4 g/l)

Medium yellow colour. Nose with peach, rather ripe yellow stone fruit, noticeable spiciness, and a somewhat earthy impression with discrete mushroom notes. Dry palate, noticeably spicy, citrus notes with some apple, minerality, and good acidity. Foody, rather young, 89(+) p.

Definitely an interesting style of Pinot Gris, since it is both foody and dry!

2009 Rotenberg Pinot Gris
Indice 2 (residual sugar 12 g/l)

Nose with dried fruit, spice notes including cocoa powder, and fried apple. The palate is off-dry with powerful concentation and is very spicy, with fried apple, medium(+) aicidty and a spicy aftertaste. 89-90 p

2009 is a hot vintage, but here the sweetness hasn’t taken off to much (although it is sweeter than the 2012), and the acidity is quite normal for a Pinot Gris.

2012 Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris
Indice 4 (residual sugar 36.5 g/l)

Light yellow colour. Nose with spice notes, fried apple, minerality with some mint, and very lightly perfumed. Off-dry palate with powerful concentration, apples of which some are fried apples, some dried fruit, noticeable spice notes, and a fruity aftertaste with spice notes. Foody and rather Young, 91 p.

2008 Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris
Indice 4

Full golden colour. Nose with noticeable spice notes, fried apple, some honey, some dried fruit, a hint of botrytis and a bit of a “vendange tardive nose”. The palate is off-dry and noticeably spicy with fried apples, some dried fruit, a hint of red berries, medium+ acidity, and a spicy and fruity aftertaste. Foody, 91 p.

2012 Heimbourg Gewurztraminer
Indice 5 (residual sugar 55 g/l).

Medium yellow colour. Nose with lychee, rose petals, honey, some spice notes, and some minerality. The palate is off-dry with powerful concentration, honey, some tropical fruit, and spice notes. Young, but approachable now, 90 p.

2012 Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer
Indice 5 (residual sugar 50 g/l)

Medium yellow colour. Nose with pronounced perfume notes, ripe peach, zest, and a very discrete spice note. Off-dry palate with good concentration, citrus, tropical fruit, some minerality, medium+ acidity, some spice notes, and an aftertaste with minerality. Rather young and with potential, 91(+) p.

2008 Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer
Indice 4

Nose with honey, dried fruit, well integrated spice notes, flowery and perfumed notes, some minerality, and some developed notes. The palate is off-dry with good concentration, honey, spice notes, some dried fruit, some tropical fruit, and a fruity and spicy aftertaste. 91 p

ZH viner 20150126

Swedish version of this post.

Posted in Alsace, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling | Leave a comment

Champagne village profile: Reuil on the right bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Reuil 201504Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite
Vineyards and grape varieties: 192.6 hectares (475.9 acres), of which 56% Pinot Meunier, 31% Pinot Noir, and 13% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (86%)

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
Åt öster: Venteuil
Åt norr: Villers-sous-Châtillon
Åt nordväst: Binson-et-Orquigny

On the left bank of the Marne
Åt sydost: Boursault (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche)
Åt söder: Œuilly (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche)
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The church in Reuil, Église Saint-Martin. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo MOSSOT, 2008).

The village

Reuil is located on the right bank of the Marne river, which means north of the river.

The Reuil commune covers 536 hectares and has 301 inhabitants (as of 2012), called reuillats and reuillates.

Domaine Bacchus (see below) has a museum or “Lilliputian land” of 75 m2 and with over 220 figures sized about 30 cm (one feet) that shows life in a Champagne village before World War I and before mechanisation entered local agriculture/viticulture.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Reuil mostly consist of mild south-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety, but also with a rather high proportion of Pinot Noir.

The current vineyard surface in the Reuil commune is 192.6 hectares (475.9 acres). There are 108.3 ha Pinot Meunier (56.3%), 59.3 ha Pinot Noir (30.8%), and 24.9 ha Chardonnay (12.9%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 175 ha. There are 87 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Bridge across the Marne river in Reuil. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo MOSSOT, 2008).

Champagne producers

Champagne houses/négociants

The producer status NM = négociant-manipulant means that purchased grapes can be included in the Champagnes. NM producers can be anything from small producers that supplement their own grapes with some that they buy in, to large Champagne houses that primarily rely on purchased grapes.

  • Philizot & Fils (NM), a Champagne house founded in 2002 by Stéphane and Virginie Philizot. In 2007, the Champagne producers (or brands) Marcel Paul and Comte de Vic were bought. The composition of the Champagnes is typical 1/3 each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Focuses on export and have e.g. provided Aldi with Champagnes that have received quite decent reviews. Some of these Philizot bottles, at least in 2013-2014, have been sold under the name Veuve Monsigny, which is a marque d’acheteur (MA) that probably belongs to Aldi. The Philizot origin is indicated more clearly on the bottles than what is usually the case with MA Champagnes. (Formerly, Veuve Monsigny bottles have been provided by several different producers, including Charles Mignon in Épernay, E. Michel in Vertus, Gueusquin’s company Les Roches Blanches in Dizy, and the cooperative CRVC in Reims, which produces the Jacquart brand.)

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Alliot-Vincent
  • Billard Père & Fils (RC), also called Domaine Bacchus and Dom Bacchus, member of Indépendants (which is a bit odd since those are almost always RM). The company name is Arnaud Billard. Domaine Bacchus also runs a museum, described under the description of the village above.
  • Billard-Leveau
  • Jean-Luc Bondon (RM)
  • Ernest Braux (RM)
  • Gérard Clément
  • J. Clément (RM), has 9.5 ha of vineyards in Reuil, Œuilly, Binson-Orquigny, and Grauves with 55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, and 20% Chardonnay.
  • Michel Collard (RM), not to be confused with Michel Collard in Vertus.
  • Collard-Leveau (RM)
  • Collard-Truchon (RM)
  • Dourdon-Vieillard, has 9.5 ha of vineyards in Reuil and Troissy with 60% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, and 15% Chardonnay.
  • Hucbourg-Bertrand (RC), has 2.3 ha of vineyards, mainly in Reuil but also in Avenay-Val d’Or and Mutigny.
  • Jaeger-Claisse (RM)
  • Vincent Leveau
  • Leveau-Triolet (RC)
  • Lévèque-Boulard
  • Nanet-Descôtes (RC), has created by a generational shift at Nanet-Garitan in Reuil and Descôtes Loyaux in Soilly (in the Dormans commune).
  • Jean-Jacques Pessenet & Fils (RM), has 7 ha of vineyards in Reuil, Œuilly, Épernay, and Damery.
  • Pessenet-Legendre (RM), has 4 ha of vineyards in Reuil and Hautvillers with 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay.
  • Philizot-Leclerc (RC), has 5.5 ha of vineyards.
  • Poudras-Boulard (RC)
  • Vely-Rasselet (RM), member of Vignerons Indépendants.
  • Christian Vollereaux et Fils (RM), also written Vollereaux et Fils, without Christian. Has 5 ha of vineyards. Not to be confused with Vollereaux in Pierry.

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Former producers

  • René Collard (RM) could earlier be found in Reuil. René Collard (1921-2009) started in 1943 with barely one hectare provided by his father, and bought vineyards in the 40s, 50s and 60s until his property reached 7 ha in Reuil and Damery with about 90% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. He retired in 1995. Typical for him was that he cellared his Champagnes unusually long, in a deep and cool cellar, so unusually old vintages (composed almost entirely of Pinot Meunier) fore sale in decent quantities. The youngest Champagnes he sold are supposed to have been oaked and were sold at about 6 years of age. The son Daniel Collard runs Collard-Chardelle in Villers-sous-Châtillon and the grandson Olivier Collard runs Collard-Picard in Épernay, but neither of them seem to have continued the tradition of selling unusually old Champagner.

Cooperatives

  • Coopérative Vinicole L’Avenir de Reuil is a cooperative in Reuil. No information about number of members or vineyard surface.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last update 2015-04-26

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Champagne village profile: Boursault on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Boursault 201504Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties:
253.1 hectares (625.4 acres), of which 69% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, and 11% Chardonnay.
Classification: “Autre cru” (84%)
Noted for: Château de Boursault.

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
Northeast: Damery (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
North: Venteuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)
Northwest: Reuil (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)

On the left bank of the Marne
Eastsoutheast: Vauciennes
Southeast: Épernay
South: Saint-Martin d’Ablois
West: Œuilly
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The town hall (mairie) of Boursault. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2007).

The village

Boursault is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river. Two small villages or hamlets are located within the borders of the commune: Villemongeois to the east of Boursault and the château, in the direction of Vauciennes, and Villesaint to the west of Boursault, in the direction of Œuilly.

The Boursault commune covers 1645 hectares and has 460 inhabitants (as of 2012) referred to as boursaultiers and boursaultières.

There is a chesse called Boursault, but it has no connection to this village since it is a brand named after a Monsieur Boursault rather than an appellation cheese. Boursault the cheese comes from the Val-de-Marne department (no 94), in the outskirts of Paris, while Boursault the village is located in the Marne department (no 51). Thus, Val-de-Marne isn’t the same as the Vallée de la Marne are within the Champagne wine region, although the Marne river does runs through them both. But on the other hand, Boursault cheese goes well with Champagne since it is a mild and creamy type of cheese and part of the family of cheeses as e.g. Brillat-Savarin.

Château de Boursault. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (uploaded by Denys, photo from 2005).

Château de Boursault

Portrait of Veuve Clicquot together with her great-granddaughter Anne, who inherited Château de Boursault. In the upper right-hand corner of the portrait, the château is visible. This portrait was painted some time between 1860 and 1862 by Léon Cogniet. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons.

Château de Boursault is an impressive palace in neo-renaissance style that was built in 1842-1848 on the initiative of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin (1777-1866), from 1805 better known as Veuve Clicquot.

Earlier, this was the site of a 16th century fort used by the barons de Boursault, and then a mansion belonging to Louis Marie Joseph de Chevigné, who married the daughter of Veuve Clicquot, Clémentine Clicquot-Ponsardin (1799-1863). When her daughter Marie-Clémentine de Chevigné (1818-1877), the granddaughter of Veuve Clicquot, married in 1839, Veuve Clicquot decided to fund a new palace on this location.

The château was inherited by Marie-Clémentine’s daughter, Anne de Rochechouart-Mortemart (1847-1933, as married the Duchess of Uzès), following the death of Barbe-Nicole in 1866. She sold the château in 1913.

Both during World War I and World War II, the château was used as a military hospital. Since 1927, and still today, the château is used by a Champagne producer by the name Château de Boursault, which doesn’t have any connection to the Champagne house Veuve Clicquot. 11 hectares of park surrounds the château.

Boursault with surrounding vineyards as seen from the other side of the Marne river. Villemongois is visible at the left edge in the form of a few buildings, then we see Château de Boursalt surrounded by trees. In the middle of the picture, Boursault itself is located, and to the right we see Villesaint. The Marne river is partially visible in the lower part of the picture. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2008).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Boursault mostly consist of mild north-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety.

The current vineyard surface in the Boursault commune is 253.1 hectares (625.4 acres). There are 174.3 ha Pinot Meunier (68.9%), 51.2 ha Pinot Noir (20.4%), and 27.1 ha Chardonnay (10.7%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 220 ha. There are 95 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

Single vineyard sites

  • Les Cuteries. Claude Michez produces a vineyard-designated Champagne from this site, a 100% Chardonnay that is part of their oaked la Villesenière range.

Champagne producers

Champagne houses/négociants

The producer status NM = négociant-manipulant means that purchased grapes can be included in the Champagnes. NM producers can be anything from small producers that supplement their own grapes with some that they buy in, to large Champagne houses that primarily rely on purchased grapes.

  • J. & Jacques Bérat (NM), has 12 ha of vineyards in the slopes between Boursault and Œuilly with 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 30% Pinot Noir.
  • Château de Boursault (NM) is a producer that since 1927 is located in the château of the same name, and that uses vineyards around the château, among others. The Champagnes contain a high proportion of Chardonnay. The claim to be the only Champagne producer in the Marne department with “château” in their name. (There are other château-named Champagne producers in the Aube department.)

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

  • Raphaël Alloux (RC), has about 9 ha of vineyards.
  • Batiste-Sennepin (RC), has 6.4 ha of vineyards in Boursault, Damery, Moussy, Vinay, Brugny-Vaudancourt, Mareuil-le-Port, Mont-Saint-Père, and Fossoy.
  • D. Bérat, or Dominique Bérat, has 4.37 ha of vineyards in Boursault and Œuilly (Montvoisin) and is located at the property Ferme de l’Epine.
  • Michel Bérat (RM)
  • Bérat-Schenk (RM?), has 4 ha of vineyards and uses oak barrels. Annual production about 25 000 bottles.
  • Bouchez-Benard
  • Lucien Dagonet & Fils (RM), also written L. Dagonet & Fils, member of Vignerons Indépendants. Not to be confused with Dagonet & Fils in Hautvillers.
  • Alain David (RC)
  • Foin-Moigneau (RC)
  • Le Gallais (RM, alternative website), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with 4 ha of vineyards, all of which are located within a wall-enclosed clos (that isn’t named on their website).
  • André Gilbert
  • Husson-Joliet (RM)
  • Michel Laval (RC, Facebook page)
  • Claude Lemaire (RM), also written as Patrice Lemaire on the labels.
  • Lemaire Rasselet
  • Jean-Pierre Lété, not to be confused with Pierre Lété in Damery.
  • Claude Michez (RM), a member of Vignerons Indépendants with a bit more than 4 ha of vineyards, mostly in Boursault but also in Mardeuil and Cuis (in the Côte des Blancs). Also sells Champagnes under the name:
    • la Villesenière, where oak is used for all cuvées. The range includes a vineyard-designated Champagne, Les Cuteries, consisting of 100% Chardonnay from Boursault.
  • Quencez-Talbot
  • Stéphane & Fils
  • de Villepin (RC), has 7 ha of vineyards. The property originates from the Ferme de Boursois (which is located in the upper part of the slope between Boursault and Vauciennes), which used to belong to the Duchess d’Uzès, but who sold the propertty in 1912, i.e., around the same time she sold the Château de Boursault. The company address is in Saint-Martin d’Ablois, though.

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Cooperatives

  • Coopérative Vinicole de Boursault is a cooperative with 54 members with a total of 37,93 ha of vineyards. It is one of the 82 cooperatives that are members of the major cooperative Centre Vinicole Champagne-Nicolas Feuillatte (CVC-NF), with its main facilities in Chouilly.

Villesaint, a small village that is located just east of Boursault but within the borders of the Boursault commune, with surrounding vineyards. In the distance, vineyards on the right bank of the Marne river are visible. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Denys, 2007).

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last update 2015-04-26

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Champagne village profile: Vauciennes on the left bank of the Marne valley

Diagram Vauciennes 201503Key facts

Located in: Vallée de la Marne: Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche
Vineyards and grape varieties: 107 hectares (264.4 acres), of which 58% Pinot Meunier, 23% Chardonnay, and 19% Pinot Noir.
Classification: “Autre cru” (84%)

Map

The map is linked from Wikimedia Commons, and the geographical information originates from OpenStreetMap. The dotted white area corresponds to the vineyards, light yellow is other open terrain, orange is built-up areas, and green indicates forest.

Neighbouring villages

On the right bank of the Marne
North: Damery (part of the Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite)

On the left bank of the Marne
East: Mardeuil
West: Boursault
South: Épernay
Comment: more links will be added when profiles of the other villages have been uploaded.

The town hall (mairie) of Vauciennes. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2013).

The village

Vauciennes is located on the left bank of the Marne river, which means south of the river.

The Vauciennes commune covers 508 hectares and as 310 inhabitants (as of 2012).

Vineyards

The vineyards in Vauciennes mostly consist of mild north-facing slopes with Pinot Meunier as the most common grape variety.

The current vineyard surface in the Vauciennes commune is 107 hectares (264.4 acres). There are 62.8 ha Pinot Meunier (57.6%), 25.2 ha Chardonnay (23.1%), and 20.8 ha Pinot Noir (19.1%). Numbers from CIVC, as of 2013. In 1997, the vineyard surface was 101 ha. There are 42 vineyard owners (exploitants) in the commune.

In the foreground we see vineyards in Vauciennes. In the background, Damery with surrounding vineyards is visible. Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo October Ends, 2013).

Champagne producers

Champagne growers

Producer status is indicated where known: RM = récoltant-manipulant, or grower-producers. RC = récoltant-coopérateur, growers that are cooperative members but sell Champagnes under their own name.

Comment: the list may not be complete.

Links

© Tomas Eriksson 2015, last upate 2015-04-19

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Mixed white BYOB with AuZone

In the absence of other tastings scheduled for Maundy Thursday, six of us gathered for a BYOB tasting under the auspices of our wine tasting club AuZone. E.T., who took the initiative, decided on “white and good” as our theme. As always, we tasted blind (but knew which wine was our own), and voted for best and worst wine. We ended up tasting three Rieslings, two Chardonnays and one Sauvignon Blanc, so not really any odd grape varieties…

AuZone 20150402 flaskor 2005 Josmeyer Riesling Grand Cru Hengst
Alsace

Nose of citrus, zest, ripe yellow fruit, a light botrytis note, a hint of vanilla and slightly perfumed. The palate is almost dry (but not quite) with good concentration, citrus, some other ripe yellow fruit, good acidity, some viscosity, and a long and fruity aftertaste with citrus. 91-92 p

I guessed Riesling, and was thinking about a German GG from a vintage with high ripeness, such as 2009 or possibly 2007. The small residual sugar that after all is a bit over typical “trocken”, and was higher than the next wine, should perhaps have led me more in the direction of Alsace when we’re talking of a wine of this weight. Surprisingly young notes for a 10 year old Alsatian! I didn’t detect any obvious petroleum notes in this wine.

1 best and 2 worst votes.

2009 Dönnhoff Dellchen Riesling GG 2009
Nahe, Germany

Nose with ripe yellow fruit, citrus in the shape of fresh lemon juice, a light smoky note, and a somewhat stony minerality. Palate with citrus (again lemon juice), good concentration, definitely a high acidity, quite fresh impression with minerality, light herbaceous notes, and a long a citrus-fresh aftertaste with acidity and minerality. Still young, 92(+) p.

My guess was a German Riesling on GG level in a young high acid vintage, so primarily 2012 or 2010. Definitely young and fresh for a 2009, because I get the impression that some wines from that year (which I very much enjoyed when they were released) hasn’t developed quite as good as I hoped.

3 best votes including mine, voted the best wine.

2009 Durelle Vineyards Les Grands Vins de Colette Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast, California

Nose with citrus, some ripe yellow fruit, some butterscotch, slightly smoky, and discrete flowery notes. Fully dry on the palate with smoke, yellow fruit, high acidity, minerality, oak with spice notes. Could develop more, 90(+) p.

Definitely came across as a Chardonnay, but initially my thoughts actually went in the direction of an oaked Chablis, before the oak notes became more obvious.

No votes.

2002 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Jadis
Loire, grape variety Sauvignon Blanc. Recently released on the Swedish market.

Second most deep colour. The nose is notable smoky including bready notes, oak, ripe yellow fruit including plums, slightly nutty with toasted hazelnuts, and some spice notes. Rather ripe impression. The palate is dry with powerful concentration, smoky with some oak notes, good acidity, citrus and other yellow fruit, and a rather firm aftertaste. Serious concentration, but came across as less full-bodied after some time in the glass, and was a tiny bit “clumsier” as most of the other. Approachable now, can be cellared, 90-91 p.

Here my first guess was New World Chardonnay, or perhaps a “Chardonnay wannabe” wine from other varieties. I didn’t recognise any Sauvignon Blanc notes, but some of the others did. Well, the characteristic notes usually reduce or disappear with some years of cellaring. When I have tasted unoaked Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé with age, I’ve usually guessed Chablis, but it was interesting that my thoughts actually went in the New World direction in this case!

1 worst vote.

2009 Jean-François Ganevat Les Grands Teppes Vieilles Vignes
Côtes du Jura, grape variety Chardonnay.

Nose with yellow fruit and a herbaceous component, quince marmalade, slightly smoky with some ripe notes as well as minerality and some wax. Definitely dry on the palate with citrus, high acidity, a slightly herbaceous note, minerality, good concentration but still rather lean (if that’s understandable), and a light bitterness. Difficult to tell if the wine will develop well, 88-89 p? – possibly a bit ungenerous score.

Most difficult to place among the wines. I was thinking about Chardonnay (more due to the herbaceous notes than due to acidity of minerality), but also about Sauvignon Blanc. This was a wine that I appreciated more when I knew what it was, since there are some notes that are fully OK in a Jura wine… The wine also became more fruity with time in the glass.

1 best and 3 worst votes, including mine worst vore, and therefore voted the worst/least good wine.

1998 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (as it was called in those days, before the name was shortened)

Fully yellow note, a bit in the amber direction, and clearly the darkest of the flight. Nose with dried fruit, fried apples and old apples, fudge, some spice notes, some petroleum and noticeable “firne” note. Off-dry palate with dried fruit, spice notes, not too concentrated for an Auslese, fruity aftertaste with dried fruit and spice notes. 88-89 p.

This was my wine, so no blind tasting here. It was more mature than I expected, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard guesses that it was a 1980s vintage. The cork was a bit difficult and crumbled when I opened the bottle, so perhaps the wine had become more oxidised than ideal. No problems with the fill level though.

1 best vote.

AuZone 20150402 glas

Swedish version here.

Posted in Alsace, California, Chardonnay, Jura, Loire, Mosel, Nahe, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc | Leave a comment

Paul Blanck at the 2015 Alsace wine day

Grand Rue in Kientzheim, the street where Paul Blanck is located (but not in the picture). Picture linked from Wikimedia Commons (photo Ralph Hammann, 2014).

Paul Blanck, which can be found in the Kientzheim village, was one of the Alsace producers I tasted at the Alsace wine day in Stockholm in the end of January. On his extensive Alsace wine site, Per Warfvinge has a producer profile of Paul Blanck where he mentions Blanck as one of Alsace’s two global ambassadors. (I then assume that the other has a name that starts with an H.) I visited them on location in 2008 and definitely agree with what Per W. writes about visitors being received in at pleasant and generous way.

Paul Blanck has 36 hectares (89 acres) of vineyards, of which 26% in grand cru sites and 15% in other vineyard sites with “a good name”. The annual production is about 220 000 bottles.

They have vineyard in the five grand cru vineyards Furstentum (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir), Mambourg (Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris), Schlossberg (Riesling and Pinot Gris), Sommerberg (Riesling), and Winneck-Schlossberg (Riesling and Pinot Gris). Furstentum, that yields powerful wines, is something of a signature vineyard of Paul Blanck.

Vineyard-designated wines are also produced from the vineyards Altenbourg (Gewurztraminer and Muscat), Patergarten (Riesling and Pinot Gris), and Rosenbourg (Riesling and Pinot Gris).

Since 1985, Paul Blanck is led by the two cousins Frédéric Blanck and Philippe Blanck. The Paul Blanck wines are of high quality without taking of too much in price, and the wine style is fruity with good concentration.

Residual sweetness in Paul Blanck wines – and a scale 1-10 with an own interpretation

There are sometimes some residual sweetness in the wines of Paul Blancks, but e.g. Riesling is often fairly dry. This means that I don’t perceive Paul Blanck as one of of the “sweetest” among the fruity Alsace producers.

Paul Blanck uses a scale 1-10 to indicate the impression of sweetness in their wines, and this is clearly indciated for each wine on their website, so it is possible to “do some recon” before buying. I’m Always positive to Alsace producers indicating this for their wines, but for the region as a whole, I would had preferred one and the same scale, be it 1-5, 1-9, or 1-10, which are the different versions I recall having found.

I hadn’t noted that Paul Blanck used this scale when I tasted, so I wrote down my personal impression using the scale 1-9, which I’ve tried to use in a reasonably consistent way for all producers. Checking after the tasting, I was rather surprised when I noted how highly on the scale 1-10 they had rated wines that I considered to be dry or almost dry! However, there is much to indicate that they apply their scale 1-10 in a different way than other producers use the scale 1-9, and that they let the number be 2, 3 or 4 for wines that are dry or almost dry, and that would reasonably had ended up as 1 or 2 on the scale 1-9, as it is commonly applied.

Why do I make this claim? Well, I checked out how they have rated some wines that tend to be among the driest for many producers, their entry level Riesling and their Pinot Noirs. There are 1-10 numbers for many vintages of these wines, but unfortunately no analytical data with actual residual sugar content. Their entry level Riesling, vintages 2008-2014, has consistently been scored 2/10 or 3/10, and this is a wine which has come across as dry when I have tasted it. Their two Pinot Noirs tell an even clearer story, since they’ve almost always been scored 3/10 (excepting one 2/10 and one 5/10)! Red wines are almost always produced dry. Browsing somewhat unsystematically at their website didn’t uncover a single wine they had scored 1/10.

My conclusion is that 1/10 at Paul Blanck means “horribly dry” and is not used, 2/10 means dry, 3/10 means dry (at least for Riesling and reds) or almost dry, and 4/10 means rather dry (perhaps off-dry for those that are picky about residual sugar). Only from about 5/10 are they more seriously off-dry. 5/10 at Blanck should correspond to about 3 on the scale 1-9 the way I have used it.

In summary: many of Paul Blanck’s wines do have some residual sweetness, but some are dry, and the wines are drier than you can be led to believe by their own descriptions! Paul Blanck 20150126

Wines tasted

2010 Auxerrois Vieilles Vignes
Sweetness according to Paul Blanck 3/10.

Nose with honey, ripe apples and some fried apples, slighly smoky and slightly developed notes. Palate with citrus, high acidity, good concentration, some melon fruit, and a fruity aftertaste. Very pleasant, 88-89 p.

Very nice to see an Auxerrois called Auxerrois, since they are usually labelled Pinot Blanc, but unfortunately that producers have to bend the appellation rules to indicate the actual contents of the bottles. (For some strange reason, it is allowed to blend Pinot Blanc and the spicier Auxerrois in free proportions, including 0% Pinot Blanc, and call the blend Pinot Blanc. In total, there is more Auxerrois than Pinot Blanc in the Alsatian vineyards, but that’s not reflected on the labels.) This is also one of the best varietal Auxerrois wine I’ve tated, but the vintage surely plays a part here – 2010 is really an excellent vintage!

2013 Riesling Classique
Sweetness according to Paul Blanck 2/10 Fruity nose with peach.

Dry palate with a lot of citrus, some peach, mineral, and quite a bit of grapefruit – also in the aftertaste. Firm, young, 87-88(+) p.

2012 Riesling Patergarten
Sweetness 4/10

Nose with peach, pronounced stony minerality, and a very light petroleum note. Almost dry palate with a lot of citrus, good concentration, high acidity and mineral. Rather young, 88-89 p

2013 Pinot Gris Classique
Sweetness 4/10

Nose with ripe fruit, apple, pear, some smoke and spice notes. Rather dry palate (my estimation 2-3 on the scale 1-9), good concentration, fruit, good acidity, some spice notes, and a fruity aftertaste. Foody, 88 p.

2013 Gewurztraminer Classique
Sweetness 4/10

Nose with perfum and lychee notes, but not too “explosive” for a young Gewurztraminer, gives a pleasant impression. Palate with some residual sugar (my estimation 2-3 on the scale 1-9), medium acidity, fruity, good concentration, and a fresh aftertaste. 88 p

2008 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg
Sweetness 5/10

The nose is perfumed in a restrained way with mint notes, honey, and some tropical fruit. The palate is rather dry (my impression 2? on the scale 1-9) with good concentration, mint, spice notes, some tropical fruit, and some heather honey. An elegant Gewurz style, 89-90 p.

2011 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg
Sweetness 3/10

Nose with peach and ripe but elegant style, and a stony minerality. The palate is rather dry (my estimation 2 on the scale 1-9) with honey, peach, powerful concentration, mineral, and good acidity. The aftertaste is dry with mineral but still fruity. 91-92 p

2008 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Winneck Schlossberg
Sweetness 5/10

Nose with yellow apples including some old winter apples, and some honey. The palate is almost dry (my estimation 2? on the scale 1-9), a lot of mineral, mint, citrus, rather high acidity, and spice notes with grapefruit. Rather odd taste profile but pleasant, 89 p.

2008 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Furstentum Vieilles Vignes
Sweetness 8/10

Nose with honey, spice notes, aromatic oil, and discrete developed notes. Rather dry on the palate (my estimation 2-3 on the scale 1-9 – extremely different from the figure above) with honey, powerful concentration, spices, medium acidity, some tropical fruit, and some fried apple. Comes across as rather ready in its development, 91 p.

2008 Pinot Gris Altenbourg Vendange Tardive
Sweetness 7/10

Nose with pear, discrete green notes, and some tropical notes. The palate is sweet (regular VT sweetness) with pear, good concentration, good acidity, and some spices. 89-90 p

2007 Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum Sélection des Grains Nobles
Sweetness 8/10

Nose with botrytis, spice notes, dried fruit, mineral and honey – perhaps heather honey? The palate shows great concentration and typical SGN sweetness (in German terms BA(+) but not TBA sweetness) with dried yellow fruit, some spice notes, high acidity, citrus, honey, and a fresh aftertaste. Quite impressive! 93 p.

Bonus note

An additional Paul Blanck wine recetly showed up at a dinner at a friend (actually bought when we visited in 2008), and was served blind:

2004 Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg

Golden colour. Nose with ripe yellow fruit, honey, some dried fruit, hints of mineral, some petroleum and other notes of maturity. The palate is clearly off-dry (but probably a little under modern Spätlese sweetness, say, about 4 on the scale 1-9) with yellow apples, rather good acidity (medium+), a light spicy notes, and a light alcoholic feeling that indicates that indicates that it is not German. Fully developed but can take more cellaring, 90 p.

My guess was an Alsace Riesling from the end of the 1990s, possibly a Vendange Tardive. I was a little surprised that the residual sweetness was so high when it turned out to be a Paul Blanck, both because I had the (in my impression) mostly dry Riesling wines from this tasting in my mind, and because I perceive 2004 to be a rather acid-driven and not excessively ripe vintage. On the other hand, Sommerberg is a steep and sun-exposed site. Swedish version

Posted in Alsace, Auxerrois, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling | Leave a comment