I like Riesling!
My friend HD and a friend of L’s, GE, both kindly invited me to attend this Magnum Society tasting. The Magnum Society is a long-established local wine appreciation society. It was formed to buy and cellar a wide variety of European wines for later appreciation, and has scheduled tastings stretching out to infinity, or so it seems :-).
I was very pleased and excited to attend.
GE prepared these introductory notes for attendees: “Magnum has held 11 Alsace tastings since 1996. An interesting characteristic has been that every tasting has been either a mix of years, a mix of varietals or a comparative tasting with another area such as Australia or Austria. This tasting is the first to look purely at a single vintage of Riesling.
So what to expect? I think we’re really starting to see some of the influence of climate change – there has been a tendency for slightly richer wines in recent times. The racy acidity isn’t as prevalent as it once was, with growers having to deal with higher sugars and thus alcohol levels and the challenge of achieving development of the full flavour profiles that are desirable without letting the sugars get away. There is a wonderful richness about these wines, but producers are having to change their winemaking practices and adapt to the earlier ripening. The average temperature in Alsace has increased by approx. 3 degrees since 1972, increasing both at the minimum and maximum end of the scale at a rate of approx. 0.05 degrees pa.
Thanks to the meticulous record-keeping of the French wine industry, we can see the hard evidence of the impact of this in black and white. Harvest date for one producer in Alsace was Oct 16 in 1978; in 1998 Sep 14; in 2007 it was August 24.
So the producers must adapt to the ongoing changes and do what they do best – produce a wine that reflects the terroir. As the terroir changes with the impact of increased temperatures and potentially lower rainfall, how will the producers respond? What new issues will the temperature changes bring to the vignerons?
2007 was ultimately a great vintage in Alsace, and N should be thanked for assembling a tasting of the quality we have here. The wines are:
2007 Boxler Riesling Brand Old Vines K
2007 Mann Riesling Schlossberg
2007 Josmeyer Riesling Hengst
2007 Dirler Riesling Kessler
2007 Dirler Riesling Kitterle
2007 Schoffit Riesling Rangen Schistes
The wines ranged in alcohol from 13-14%. They were decanted some 3 hours before the tasting, and served blind. We tried the wines first on their own, and later with food.
2007 Mann Riesling Schlossberg – Pale green yellow. Rich entry with cut thru. Hint of kero. Viscosity and pairing mouthfeel. Rich yet dry, with a great line of piercing acidity. Long mouthwatering finish. Hints of cocnut and salinity. A lovely wine, and a great start to to the tasting. My second favourite.
2007 Josmeyer Riesling Hengst – Pale green yellow. Suppressed, closed, shy to start with. Light aromas of apple core. Lightly flavoured as well, with racy acidity. It did get better in the glass as the tasting progressed. A long finish. My least favoured wine of the flight.
2007 Dirler Riesling Kitterle – Brilliant green yellow. The nose was very different to the preceding wine – phenolic, medicinal notres, with aniseed. More developed and oxidative. Pineapple in there too. Oxidative on palate as well. Sweet, with flavours of Golden Delisious apples. Phenolic finish on the bitter side.
2007 Dirler Riesling Kessler – Brilliant green yellow. A very intriguing and distinctive wine. Developing flavours and aroma profile. Rich and delicious, ripe apples, soft and pretty, a focussed wine. Apple pip finish. My favourite wine of the night. Very good with food too.
2007 Boxler Riesling Brand Old Vines K – Pale green yellow. Linear, open, long and elegant nose. Fresh flavours, citrus, quite dry, great balance of acid and fruit flavour. Intense and powerful. In the top three.
2007 Schoffit Riesling Rangen Schistes – Most golden colour of the wines tonight. An outlier. Tropical fruit, apples, oranges – an open gorgeous nose – smokey, with botrytis, sweet, malo, flavours of lollies and honey, pears, drying on the mid palate, a lovely finish
A lot of fun! We were done and dusted in less than an hour and a half, and enjoyed some tasty tasting plates with the wines. Thanks HD.