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Online Alsace Guide

by Tom Stevenson

Sylvaner

Like Chasselas, Sylvaner does not take kindly to the bottling process, and is best drunk straight from the vat, but every now and then a wine like Bursin's 2002 comes along.

90/100

Alsace Sylvaner 2002 Bursin Agathe (€7.80)
Soil: calcaro-gréseux. This was grown on the Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé. It is one of the freshest, most exciting, dry tasting (despite 14g/l residual sugar) Sylvaners I've ever come across, with its unusually ripe, yet light and refreshing fruit.

84/100

Alsace Sylvaner SGN 2000 Landmann Seppi (€150)
The colour of an authentic old oloroso, liquorous without being too oil-like, with very sweet concentrated raisined fruit flavour.

Alsace Sylvaner Caprice 2001 Simonis Rene (€7.75)
Fresh, concentrated aroma, very rich, Passerillé fruit on palate, but needs a lift on the finish.

69/100

Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner El Diablo SGN 2000 Seltz Albert Et Fils (€38.24)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Sorry to be a killjoy, but this Sylvaner with its astonishing 100g/l residual sugar is not in the same class as the late-harvest Sylvaner that Angelo Puglisi can achieve year in Queensland's Granite Belt, simply by cane-cutting.

Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner Mon École Buissonnière SGN 2000 Seltz Albert Et Fils
Soil: marno-calcaire. Another Sylvaner with 100g/l of residual sugar, but the sweetness tastes burnt. These two wines from Albert Seltz, and La Colline aux Poiriers below, illustrate why Sylvaner is not authorised for either VT or SGN, although this is not to say that growers should not strive for that one-off, very special late-harvest Sylvaner that can and does happen, especially on the grand cru Zotzenberg. But between the lucky strikes, we are going to get a lot of disappointing oddities like this. If the grower values his reputation, I'm not sure that he should even sell it, let alone at such a high price that it raises expectations.

Alsace Issu Zotzenberg Sylvaner La Colline Aux Poiriers VT 2001 Seltz Albert Et Fils (€18)
Soil: marno-calcaire. Apple puree nose, and very rich on palate (50g/l residual sugar), but lacks freshness.

50/100

Alsace Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 1997 Koehly Jean-Marie (€5.50)
Fresh for a 6 year Sylvaner that has been made in a old typically light and dry style. Must have seen better days.

10/100

Alsace Sylvaner Clos St Landelin 2001 Mure Rene
Too toasty and aldehydic. Lacks so much freshness, purity and finesse on the nose that I didn't want to taste it!


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