TN: Domaines Schlumberger Dinner

DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER DINNER - Imperial Treasure, Great World City (23/3/2012)

We got a few seats at this Grand Vin organised dinner. It was a good opportunity to try a wide selection of wines from Domaines Schlumberger. They are the biggest producer in Alsace by some distance, producing wines across a whole range of vineyards and in all three noble varietals. We have had individual bottles in the past, but this was a good spread across different varietals and vintages. It was rather too small a sample size to really get a complete feel of the domaine, but what I gathered was that they seem to do better on the sweeter end than with the dry Grand Crus, and are more adept at handling Gewurztraminer than Pinot Gris or Riesling. There was also a marked change of style in the last decade or so, with the wines becoming fuller, richer and maybe sweeter as well. On the showing that we had, I would place them on clearly in a lower rung than the top makers like Trimbach, Weinbach, Zind-Humbrecht etc. They do have some good wines though, and at the prices they charge, some are pretty good value.

  • NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier - France, Champagne
    This particular bottle seemed to have been disgorged very recently. It was pretty good nonetheless. The nose showed very young, with woosh of sharp lemon scents touched by some mineral and yeast. It needed some time and air to calm down a bit. I really liked the shape of the palate though, with its clean, bright lines and zippy acidity, very classic Roederer style. It was still rather simple in its youth, with primary citrus lemon and grapefruit notes traced with just a touch of minerality. This was just at the edge of being aggressively acidic without food, but mellowed nicely with some caramelised walnut appetisers. All said, I found it to be a nice classy little NV which will probably reward a bit of time in the bottle. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Kitterlé - France, Alsace, Guebwiller, Alsace Grand Cru AOC
    A decent wine, but far from ready. Our first pour was from a corked bottle. The next bottle showed little motes of kerosene floated around citrussy scents of lime zest and grapefruit on the nose, undergirded by a bit of savoury earth and spice notes. Tight at first, but it did unfold nicely, with a hint of white flowers and chalky minerality blooming in the background with time. An interesting bouquet. The palate was almost painfully youthful though, with a ton of citrussy acidity racing through some primary lime and lemon zest flavours. There was a bit of richness here, but the acidity cut through it like a knife all the way into a bright finish that had a nice ring of stony minerality to it. Pleasant, but a bit disjointed at the moment. This should be quite good given enough time in the bottle. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Kitterlé - France, Alsace, Guebwiller, Alsace Grand Cru AOC
    Not a bad wine, but I did not enjoy it that much. It had a rich, fruity nose, with orange marmalade aromas mingling with some burnt sugar, and then plenty of stone fruit aromas and some chalky earth notes. Pretty nice. The palate was off-dry, almost sweet, with lots of honeyed notes drizzled over a core of caramelised orange and necatarine accents. Rich, quite thick, almost unctuously textured, and there was a nice depth and breadth to the wine. However, I thought it lacked some acidity so that it became a tad flabby towards the finish. A bit of minerality and spice at the tail helped to undergird the wine slightly, but I still found this a tad disappointing with its rather droopy end. A decent wine, but not tremendously enjoyable at the moment. Hopefully it will improve with time. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Kitterlé - France, Alsace, Guebwiller, Alsace Grand Cru AOC
    This was one of the more enjoyable wines amongst the younger one on show. It had a tremendously expressive nose, full of rose water and chamomile flowers, lychees, longans and rambutans, all surrounded by a little halo of exotic spice. Classic Gewurz, and very pretty. The palate was also very showy - chocked-full as it was with rose petals and tropical fruited lychee and longan flavours moving into a finish that had a nice little mouthful of sweet spices. It was rather rich, creamy and weighty with a nice length and depth to it. While very expressive and charming, I thought it perhaps lacked just a bit of finesse and cut to make it a truly superb wine. Nevertheless, this was pretty nice. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Cuvée Christine - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    A bit too young at the moment. This came across as decent, but not quite showing well yet. It had a tight nose, very different from the ultra-expressive 2005 Kitterle Grand Cru Gewurz that preceded it. This showed rather subtle notes of white flowers, lychee creme and a hint of stony mineral. The palate was rich and sweet, showing a lot of youthful primary note, with layers of lychee creme and lemon oil opening up into a creamy finish filled with Gewurztraminer spice. This had really good depth, but I thought it was a bit lacking in acidity and cut. Not quite imbalanced either, but just perhaps a bit ponderous. It needs time though, and should improve as it ages… (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Cuvée Christine - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    This was a pretty nice. I bit better than the 2007 at the moment I think, but still rather too young to drink. It had a nice nose, with earthy, minerally scents layered under higher-toned aromas of white flowers and lychees, which had a nice ring of sweetness to them. The palate had a nice, melting richness, like a dollop of honey spreading across the mouth with more lychee flavours, some pineapples maybe, and then more flowers and a lot of spice at the finish. With time and air, a slightly savoury hint of sour plums started emerging. This was really quite nice, and certainly better balanced than the 2007. It was just perhaps too primary and full of rich, rather one-dimensional fruit at the moment, so that it was rather in-your-face. It should improve with time though given the way it is structure and balanced. One of the better young wines on the night. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Cuvée Christine - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    This was my favourite wine of the evening. It was just about coming into a good drinking window too, opening with a very inviting nose of honey and honeysuckle, a nice bit of sweet spices, and some red apple fruit kissed by just a hint of tropical lychee aromas. What really impressed though was the balance on the palate. This had a really nice touch of citrus acidity that lifted its delicious ripe flavours of sweet red apples and fleshy stone fruit, and kept the wine lively until it tapered off into a pretty finish where spice and mineral nuances lingered amidst lush tropical rambutan and longan flavours. Really nice. This wine had a sense of poise and precision that was lacking in many of the others tasted on the evening, which really helped to set it apart. And while it is quite ready to drink, it is this same sense of cut and focus that makes me think that it will age and develop comfortably for a long time to come. (93 pts.)
  • 1994 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Cuvée Christine - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    This was very nice. There was a marked change of style as we went back into the 1990s, with the wines showing in a less rich, more defined style. Apart from the very good 2001, I actually preferred the older wines quite a bit more. This one, in particular, had a very nice nose. Very different from the rest, with an almost Burgundian note of funky undergrowth framing red apple and gentle floral aromas, and little surrounding layer of lychee scents. Nice. The palate had a nice melting feel to its, with really yummy flavours of sweet red apples and peaches mingling with little tropical notes and a lovely kiss of minerality on the midpalate. The wine was obviously made from a fleshy varietal, yet there was a nice breath of freshness lent by acidity that was perhaps missing in some of the younger iterations. It was just a bit short on the dried flower-filled finish, but the wine was so charming that you readily forgave that. Not perfect, but very nice indeed. (92 pts.)
  • 1985 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Cuvée Christine - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    Good. Together with the 1994, this wine seemed to represent a slightly more reserved, less showy style of wine making. It had a very nice nose, with flowers and lychee syrup aromas, sweet stone fruit accents and stoney mineral scents melded together in a nicely complex melange. In a bit of a disjunct, the palate seemed to have gone completely dry, with ripe apple flavours streaked through with steely minerality and an unusually fresh touch of acidity. This did not quite have the depth and breadth of flavours of some of the other wines on show, surprising given its age and the strength of the 1985 vintage, but it was a very pleasant drink with a lot to like. It finished quite strongly too, with a nice lick of spice, ginger and earth. All in all, a nice wine that is quite ready to be drunk. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

As always Paul, great notes. We get a smattering of their wines here in TX usually the lower end Rieslings.

Have always been a fan of the value play Schlumberger is for my palate. I actually prefer their P.G. & Gewurtz (Speigel & Kessler) to the Rieslings. Somewhat in the same style as ZH, but at 50-70% of cost.

My sister and I had a bottle of the 14 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris ‘Les Princes Abbes’ [Alsace] with a couple platters of dumplings the other night. It’s a likable wine that shows cut white fruit on the nose, and has a soft, round finish. Perhaps it was zippier on release. The abv feels right at 13.3% and it only has an acidity of 4.7 g/l. (The latter sounds more like an RS?) Taste wise I’d clock this in at the medium dry level, but depending on what one is eating, that works well with Asian types of foods. My bottle was fairly golden in color, and mature I think. I don’t drink much Alsatian wines - maybe a couple bottles a year tops, scattered among mass producers like Trimbach, Hugel, perhaps Kuentz Bas or Z-H - so even though this is a big estate in the region, I don’t think I’ve had any of their wines. This Princes Abbes level is an estate blend (but not grand cru designate). Interestingly, their terroir is so steep that their website states they have 50km of stone retaining walls around their vast acreage, which are attended to by a pair of full time masons, and with matching draught horses since its too steep for tractors! Pretty cool but what a Sisyphean task it must be keeping the stacked stone repaired. I’d try this again, especially if I could find their varietal riesling or gewurztraminer bottlings. This gets a B in my ledger.

Nice notes. I had their 2007 Gewurtz SGN Cuvee Anne a while back and it was up there with the best of Alsace