The past Monday I tasted through a number of Alsace wines in Stockholm, since the annual “Alsace Wine Day” was held. The French wine and food export organisation Sopexa provides this event. 35 Alsace producers were represented, either with their own people on location or by their Swedish importers. In total there were some 300 wines to be tasted, but alas, only tasters wearing a superhero outfit are able to taste anything near that number in a single afternoon and take notes at the same time. I’m afraid that my simple wardrobe lacks such an outfit, so I had to made a choice and limit myself to a much smaller number of wines. My choice was to taste all or almost all wines from a number of producers, which meant that I tasted wines from nine producers.
In the near future there will therefore be a number of Alsace-themed blog entries with some shorter producer profiles. One thing that I consider important is to specify the respective producer’s profile with respect to wine style and in particular residual sweetness. The reason why this is particularly important in Alsace is that this may vary quite a lot in Alsatian wines, and this variation may sometimes cause some surprise when bottles from unfamiliar or only partly familiar producers are opened. In recent years, some producers have introduced a scale at the back label that indicates the residual sugar of the wine. If such a scale is used by the producers I write about, I will note this specially.
One of the producers I checked out was Preiss-Henny, located in the village of Mittelwihr (village profile at Per Warfvinge’s Alsace excellent wine site, general Wikipedia article). Preiss-Henny is a négociant, a wine merchant that also buys in grapes for the wines they sell, but their own vineyards cover three-quarter of their needs, i.e., they are “almost a domaine”. Their style is definitely traditional, which means that their style is in line with their “retro-styled” labels, and the wines are of good quality. They are also “retro” by following the négociant tradition to 1) not indicate vineyard designations for their best wines, although these originate from grand cru vineyards (mainly Mandelberg, the pride of Mittelwihr, if I understand things right), and 2) release the best wines only after some years of aging.
The wines of Preiss-Henny are firm and completely dry, naturally with the exception of those late harvested wines designated Vendange Tardive or Sélection des Grains Nobles that are supposed to be sweet. Producing high-end Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer completely dry isn’t too common today. I particularly enjoyed their various Gewürztraminers, but then Mittelwihr’s grand cru vineyard Mandelberg is mostly planted to this variety. Preiss-Henny doesn’t use any indication of sweetness on their labels, but this is not necessary since they belong to the group of “reliably dry” producers.
Through marriage, Preiss-Henny has a family connection to the Beyer family of the producer Léon Beyer. In terms of wine style and some other things, Preiss-Henny and Léon Beyer are similar to each other.
2012 Riesling Réserve
Nose with a discrete perfume note, mineral and apple. The palate is distinctly dry with apple and mineral. 86 p
2007 Riesling Cuvée Marcel Preiss
Nose with apple, noticeable mineral and petroleum notes. The palate is distinctly dry with apple, some peach and a stony mineral note. 88 p
Nose with apple and some apricot. The palate is dry, with good concentration of fruit and good acidity. 87 p
2008 Pinot Gris Cuvée Marcel Preiss
Raised with some influence of oak.
Nose with spice, smoke and some developed notes. Dry on the palate, rather pronounced spice notes, apple including baked apple, and a good acidity. 88 p
A completely dry Pinot Gris with good concentration on the palate isn’t always too easy to find, but both these belong to that category.
Nose with lychee, honey, spice, and yellow fruit. Dry on the palate with yellow apple, some honey, spice and a medium acidity. 87 p
2008 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Marcel Preiss
Nose with honey, lychee, and rose buds; a rather “sweet” nose. The palate is dry with powerful concentration, yellow fruit, honey, mineral, and a medium acidity. A firm and elegant wine. 90 p
The same comment as for the two Pinot Gris; the two Gewürztraminers are dry and show good concentration.
2007 Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive
Nose with lychee, perfume, and honey. Palate with a typical sweetness for a VT, rather good concentration, honey, and medium acidity. 91 p
1998 Gewurztraminer Sélection des Grains Nobles
Nose with honey, flowers, citrus, and some perfume notes. Sweet on the palate with honey, powerful concentration, and spice notes. 92 p
Swedish version here.