Tastin’ France 2019

My initial interest in the tasting was to try more of the wines from Alsace. As many of you know – I am a big fan of both Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This was a chance to try a few more from a region that doesn’t get nearly as much exposure, and thus is often overlooked, especially in Riesling discussions. Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from trying some Champagnes and a few Gamay wines as well. 

Champagne Gratiot & Cie 

Champagne Almanach #1 Brut – with 85% pinot Meunier in the blend I was expecting a more masculine wine. However, this showed classic notes of bright citrus, white flowers and savory herb in the mid palate. The citrus notes become creamier and lusher toward the back, adding to the sheer appeal of the wine. 

Champagne Almanach #2 Intense – One of my favorite sparkling wines from the tasting. This wine spends 6 years on the lees and contains 55% of wine from 2011 and 45% of reserve wine. Made in a slightly more old-fashioned style, it plays off the slightly nuttier, dry fruit notes while still showing the bright green apple and the chewy texture. Richer middle with almonds and pineapple notes add to the complexity of the wine. 

Champagne Almanach #4 Vintage 2009 – With 9 years on lees, and 83% Pinot Meunier (17% Pinot Noir) this is a complex and masculine wine. Rich, powerful Champagne with ripe lemon and curd notes. It needs more time, but is already an intriguing wine. 

Champagne Almanach #0 Brut Nature – With no dosage, the wine is brighter, juicier and fresher than the other wines. Racy, lemon and lime dominating, with a zesty finish. 

Champagne Secret d’Almanach 2012 – Quite unique, with 100% Pinot Meunier from Saulchery, with 2cl of Pinot Meunier grape juice used as dosage and only 26% going through malolactic. The wine is floral, mineral with a bright citrus note as well as a deeper tropical fruit toward the finish. 

Champagne Desire Gratiot Rose de Saignee 2014 - Wow, very much like a red wine, earthy, spicy and with red berry tones. The wine is made of 60% Pinot Noir, with a 15 hour maceration to achieve the color. Quite dry, made in extra-brut style (3.5 g dosage), showing cherry tones and spices in the mid. Really excellent. (Only 980 bottles made) 

Champagne Gardet 

Champagne Gardet Brut Tradition – Truly classic, lemon, white flowers, brioche. The palate is citrus dominated, light and bright. This is a celebration waiting for the cork to pop. 

Champagne Gardet Brut Reserve – with 8 years on the lees and 25% reserve wine, this is a complex and rich example. Sweet cooked green apples, citrus, nutty notes, with a cinnamon touch on the finish. 

Champagne Gardet 2012 Extra Brut – Impressive, mineral, fresh lemon acidity, good power in the mid palate. Long refreshing finish. 

Champagne Gardet Prestige Charles 2004 – Absolute stunner. Floral, nutty, apple and pear notes, minerality to the max in the mid. Unusual and intriguing wine – a must try. 

Champagne Charles Collin 

Champagne Charles Collin Blanc De Noirs – Surprisingly mineral, stone, flowers, bright citrus. This is a lovely wine and a great qpr. 

Champagne Charles Collin Cuvee Charles Brut – The majority (75%) of the wine comes from the 2013 vintage, with 25% from 2009. There is a clarity and power to the wine that is undeniable. Citrus notes are underlining a richer, nuttier note with savory herbs and grapefruit. Really excellent.

Domaine Bott Freres 

Domaine Bott Freres Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauville – I am always happy to find bright examples of Alsace Riesling. This is one of them – floral, with stone fruit and pineapple. The mid palate is ripe, tropical fruit, pineapple and grapefruit, but very dry, with bright minerality. While the wine needs time – it is already an excellent example. 

Domaine Bott Freres Gewurztraminer Tradicion 2017 – With about 30 grams of RS, this is a pretty, supple wine. Rosewater notes on the nose are quite clear, but the mid is ripe with exotic fruit. Delicious. 

Domaine Bott Freres Gewurztraminer Reserve Personnelle 2017 – Like the above wine, but with every note amplified, with more power and a minerality that hints at a much more complex wine, given time. Hints of orange blossoms deepen the already exotic melon and mango on the palate. 

Domaine Dussourt 

Domaine Dussourt Riesling Scherwiller 2015 – Floral, light and quite dry (5g RS) with lemon, dry apricot and green plum. 

Domaine Dussourt Gewurztraminer Fronholz 2016 – Lychee, rosewater, tropical mid, with lemon curd. Orange and mango. Really excellent and in need of time.
Domaine Dussourt Pinot Noir Rouge D’Alsace 2015 – This was a surprise! A rustic, earthy and savory wine, herbs, cherry – leaning toward sour cherry. Deeply interesting, it would be fun to sit with a glass of this wine. 

Famille Horcher 

Famille Horcher Riesling Selection 2014 – Lemon and herb on the nose, hint of pineapple and stone fruit. Quite masculine in the mid palate. Serious finish.
Famille Horcher Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mandelberg 2017 – Stunning wine, floral, but more mineral than exotic. Roses and wet stone, the mid is deep, lovely olive oil quality of gewurz comes through; the 35g of RS are perfectly balanced by the bright acidity. This is excellent.
Famille Horcher Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives 2012 – Rich, BA level of power with 80% botrytis grapes. Candied oranges, dry apricot, true dessert wine in fashion, but fresh for all its power. 

Domaine Naturabilis 

Domaine Naturabilis Morgon Cuvee Ancestrale 2017 – It was very hard to choose between these two very different expressions of Gamay. The Ancestrale is made in barrel, giving the wine a rounder, softer palate. There is a ripe cherry component, with good structure and long finish. 

Domaine Naturabilis Morgon Cuvee Antique 2016 – This cuvee was made in amphorae, and this gave it a very different fruit profile and texture. The nose is darker, with plums and spices. The mid palate is richer as well, with dark fruit, rustic texture and bright acidity. Delicious! 

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