A new acquaintance at the Alsace wine day in Stockholm some weeks ago was Albert Schoech, a producer located in Ammerschwihr (village profile at Per Warfvinge’s Alsace wine site). Although I didn’t have time to taste through the wines from all the “classics” I though I should at least try out one producer I wasn’t familiar with. Then U.M. strolled by and mentioned “those ones were good!”, pointing in the direction of the table where Albert Schoech’s wines were poured.
I got a very positive impression of these wines, since the showed good concentration of aromas and were mostly dry. This is a combination that not all Alsace producers pull off. On the Riesling side, the wines were fully dry, just as they should (when we’re in Alsace), and I was definitely impressed by the two grand cru Rieslings. It was a very positive surprise to find a producer that was completely unknown to me, but was of this style and quality. In many cases, if the concentration is good and the fruit is there, the residual sugar runs away a bit more, and also tend to vary between wines and vintages. Here, I found the style to be consistent across the wines tasted. (That a Gewurztraminer from the region’s southernmost grand cru vineyard has some residual sugar is not unexpected, and doesn’t change my overall judgment of “mostly dry”.) If I should add a small caveat, it must be that the two grand cru Riesling wines are both from a truly great vintage, 2010, where the wines show a lot of freshness and balance thanks to the high level of acidity. The vintage character will also make it easier for wines to come across as dry. So I don’t really know how the Albert Schoech wines come across in weaker vintages, or in vintages that go a bit more in the hot and ripe direction, such as 2009 or 2011.
On their website, they mention five grand cru vineyards (Kaefferkopf, Florimont, Sommerberg, Mambourg, Winneck-Schlossberg), but two of three grand cru wines that were presented for tasting were actually from other vineyards: Eichberg and Brand. More than that, I don’t know too much about this producer. They present their history and these five grand cru vineyards at the website, but not which other wines they produce. Two Crémants were on also available for tasting, but I didn’t try them.
2013 Alsace 2013
A blend of 45% Sylvaner, 28% Chasselas, 20% Riesling, and 7% Muscat.
Nose with citrus, discrete flowery notes, and some mineral. The palate is completely dry (1 on the sweetness scale 1-9) with a lot of citrus including grapefruit, mineral, and a firm impression. Definitely a fresh style, 85 p.
A good “Edelzwicker” although the label doesn’t use that designation. The only Albert Schoech wine stocked by the Swedish importer, and sold at a very reasonable price.
2013 Pinot Blanc Réserve
Fruity nose with melon, some honey, and some mineral. Dry palate with citrus, mineral, good acidity and light spicy notes. Fresh, 86 p
2013 Riesling Réserve
Nose with peach, stony minerality and discrete perfume notes. Dry palate with stony minerality, citrus, some green apple and hints of spice. Definitely firm, 87 p
2013 Pinot Gris Réserve
Nose with fried apple, pear, some spice notes, and a bit of an “odd” note that I can’t find a good description for. Practially dry on the palate (1-2 on the scale 1-9) with citrus, spice notes, good concentration and good acidity. Fruity aftertaste, balanced, 87-88 p
2013 Gewurztraminer Réserve
Nose with lychee, honey and spice notes. The palate is almost dry (2? on the scale 1-9) with noticeable spice, medium acidity, and a light bitterness. Foody, 87 p
2010 Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling
A vineyard in Eguisheim.
Nose with peach, stony minerality, and a hint of perfume. Dry palate with stony minerality, citrus, high acidity, and a firm aftertaste with grapefruit. Definitely good and rather young, 90(+) p
2010 Grand Cru Mambourg Riesling
A vineyard in Sigolsheim.
Nose with citrus and some zest, stony notes with petroleum and a hint of honey. Dry palate (but unlike Eichberg not totally bone dry) with citrus, peach, good concentration, mineral, high acidity and an aftertaste with citrus. Quite good and rather young, 91(+) p
2012 Grand Cru Brand Gewurztraminer
A vineyard in Turckheim, and the southernmost grand cru of Alsace.
Nose with honey and lychee with a distinct spicy note, peach, and a discrete note of something green (asparagus?). The palate is reasonably dry (2-3 on the scale 1-9) with powerful concentration and viscosity, honey, noticeable spice, medium acidity, and a spicy aftertaste with notes of spicy honey. Quite good, 90-91 p.