The Riesling chronicles: Théo v. Muenchberg
Alsace Riesling 2011, Cuvée Théo, Domaine Weinbach ($40.00, 10272552)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Riesling grown in the Clos des Capucins vineyard. The grapes are manually harvested, gently pressed and fermented and matured in old oak vats with indigenous yeasts. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Séguin & Robillard.
Textbook nose dominated by lemon-lime and green apple with notes of petrol and crushed rock. Powerful yet fresh in the mouth. Dry, as the hint of residual sugar is obliterated by surging acidity. Deep, long and so minerally. Classic but not peaking for another few years. (Buy again? Yes.)
Alsace Riesling 2012, Grand cru Muenchberg, Domaine Ostertag ($57.50, 00739821)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Riesling from 30- to 60-year-old vines growing in Ostertag’s 1.6 hecatres in the 17-hectare grand cru Muenchberg vineyard. The manually harvested whole clusters are pressed in a pneumatic press. The long fermentation with indigenous yeasts and maturation on the lees take place in stainless steel tanks, the entire process lasting just under 12 months. Underwent malolactic fermentation. 6 g/l residual sugar, 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Shockingly fragrant and floral at first, evocative of the boudoir, but eventually yielding more typical citrus and mineral notes along with a hint of peach/mango. Far more typical on the palate. The fruit is pure and ripe and the texture is remarkable – smoother and silkier than the Weinbach, the acidity as trenchant but better integrated. Indeed, the wine is breathtakingly well balanced, while the multi-dimensionality holds your attention to the very end of the long finish. Even in its youth, a gorgeous wine. That said, the price is shock-inducing: the 2010 went for $49. (Buy again? If feeling flush, yes. Otherwise wait until there’s a 10% off promo.)