Tried these four from Blair’s cellar last Sunday at Pig+Fig:
- Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymnasium Bernkastler Badstube Riesling Auslese (Q; A.P.Nr. 3 561 024 47 72; EA) Trier 1971: Deep gold/burnished bronze color; very strong old Auslese honeyed/orangey/botrytis/apricotty bit earthy slight pungent/petrol/cedary very complex nose; lightly tart old Auslese/very honeyed very light sweetness some peachy/botrytis/apricotty slightly bitter/metallic/tangy complex flavor; very long/lingering slightly sweet some botrytis/peachy/apricotty slight pungent/cedary/petrol/honeyed delicate/ethereal quite complex old Auslese finish; starting to dry out a bit but a beautiful example of a fully mature and a bit beyond Auslese Riesling. $5.99 (LM)
- Domaine Weinbach Tokay Pinot Gris Cuvee Ste.Catherine AC: Vd’A (13%; MeBalP) Colette Faller ses filles/Kayserberg 1993: Med.dark gold color; light orangey/floral/gardenias/PG light cedary/smokey rather complex if quiet nose; tart bit dried out light orangey/floral/PG/gardenias slight cedary fairly complex/quiet flavor w/ slight bitterness; very long slightly bitter/dried out light/floral/PG/gardenias slight earthy bit cedary fairly complex finish; a lovely quite complex nose but a bit quiet on the palate and drying out a bit, but still lovely drinking.
- Bott Freres Riesling Cuvee Exceptionnelle AC: Vd’A (12%) Ribeauville 1981: Med.dark color; slight musty/fusty (that clears) bit earthy slight nutty/toasted hazelnuts/oxidative rather petrol/Mosel valve oil bit cedary/smokey rather complex old R lovely nose; lightly tart slight bitter/earthy slight petrol/valve oil bit cedary/herbal some old R/floral/complex bit dried out flavor; long slightly dried out/bitter slight petrol/valve oil/old R slight cedary fairly complex finish; a bit tired & dried out on the palate and lost a lot of oomph but still offers up some pleasure. $3.99 (D-E vTH)
- Bott Freres Riesling Reserve Personnelle AC: Vd’A (12%) 1983: Med.dark color; beautiful cedary/pencilly old R/valve oil/petrol smokey slight floral quite complex nose; lightly tart slight floral/R some old R/valve oil/petrol rather cedary/pencilly bit earthy quite complex smooth/gentle flavor; very long/lingering low-key/petrol/valve oil some old R/floral quite complex beautiful finish; slightly drying out on the palate but quite complex and a beautiful example of an old Alsatian R. $5.30 (D-E vTH)
A wee BloodyPulpit:
- I came to LosAlamos in 1973 and soon discovered the LiquorMart in Boulder. Wine dept run by PhilReich and ReneRondeau. The '71’s had arrived and the LM had great prices, so I (and a bunch of others) went heavy on them. And the '75’s and '76’s when they later came along. They all are holding up, by & large, very well at the Spatlese/Auslese level.
- BottFreres: After Rene left LiquorMart, he went to SanFrancisco where he ran the wine dept at Draper&Esquins, the retail arm of Esquin Imports. This is where the Vintner’sClub used to hold their tastings. One of their employees developed a love of RedBurg wines there and wanted to make them in Calif. By & large, FrankMahoney was pretty successful at it.
Esquins brought in the BottFreres '81 wines, Riesling & GWT, Cuvee Exceptionelle and Reserve Personelle levels. Rene gave me a heads up not to miss them. I tried them & loved them. He gave us a special discount and we bought a bunch of them. Same thing when the '83’s came in as well. I think, except for Blair’s cellar, they’ve pretty much vanished from LosAlamos.
Rene eventually left Draper&Esquins, left the wine business I believe, and went on to become the World’s expert on Hamilton watches. Even has written a book on the subject. I haven’t had contact with him since the mid-'80’s. He, unlike me, may have even gotten a bit older since those days.
- Alsace Riesling: These used to be magnificant wines that aged like nobody’s business. They were tart/lean and, best of all, cheap. They aged into magnificent wines. A no-brainer buy. My rule of thumb was the more acidic/lean they were, the greater the potential they had to age into something great. Did I mention that they were inexpensive?
Since Zind-Humbrecht, maker of the world’s greatest white wines according to a Monktown attourney, and their very ripe/low acid/off-dry/high alcohol style, Alsatian Riesling are no longer a no-brainer buy.