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Alsace, Germany, Burgundy

by Tom Cannavan, 02/98

This was part three of the private cellar assessment/tasting (see "Private cellar 1" for details). Again, many of these whites are (or were) probably good, above average wines when purchased, but most should have been consumed years ago. The Alsace wines from the excellent Domaine Weinbach really show their class - each is at least good and all have held their fruit well, even from average years like '86 and '87. Scores awarded out of 100 again.

Flight One. Alsace

Muscat 1986, Domaine Weinbach
Pale yellow colour. Pungent nose of lychees. Very sweet and fruity. Palate doesn't show as much fruit, but still full and attractive with a lingering finish. Drink soon. 85/100.

Riesling Réserves Particulière 1987, Domaine Weinbach
Surprisingly deep, golden yellow. Very distinct kerosene nose - really high, with a herbal edge. Lacking crispness on the palate now. Quite luscious, with gentle lime fruit and decent length. Very good, but drink up soon. 85/100.

Tokay-Pinot Gris Cuvée Theo 1989, Domaine Weinbach
Pale golden yellow. Extremely grassy, vegetal, even cabbagy nose. Lovely weight on the palate with loads of citrus fruit and expansive acidity. A long, pure, focused finish. Delicious. No hurry - 5 to 8 years life ahead. 90/100.

Gewürztraminer Réserves Particulière 1986, Domaine Weinbach
Medium gold colour. Very classy/classic rose petal scents on the nose with a straw-like element too. Quite light bodied, clean and fresh on the palate with some sweetness. Nice long, elegant finish, if light-weight. Drink up soon. 87/100

Gewürztraminer Réserves Particulière 1991, Domaine Weinbach
Deep golden yellow. Lovely nose showing lots of honeyed white fruit and orange aromas. Very mouth-filling and luscious on the palate, packed with late-harvest fruit. Good weight, gentle acidity, fine purity. A long finish shows up a nutty quality too. Very good. Drinking well and with 5 years ahead. 88/100.

Flight two. Germany

Weisser Burgunder Bickensohler Steinfelsen Spätlese Trocken 1990 (Baden).
Pale golden yellow. Powerful nose of marzipan and almonds. Heavy, oily mouth-feel with some citrus fruit, but mostly alcohol and acidity. Quite raw and un-subtle. Drinking OK now. 80/100.

Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Spätlese 1983 (M-S-R), Weingut Grans-Fassian
Astonishingly intense petrol nose. Beneath this there are lots of intriguing non-fruit aromas of slate, minerals and salts. Petrol effect carries through on the palate, but loaded with fresh citrus fruit, clean apple acidity and some luscious sweetness emerging in the finish. Lovely, powerful stuff, Drink over next five years. 89/100.

Gundersheimer Konigstuhl Scheurebe Eiswein 1983 (Rhienessen), Ferdinand Pieroth
Deep yellow colour. Quite attractive nose of melons and straw, but also sugary sweetness. Palate really is nothing but sugar with little acidity, little fruit, little tertiary flavour and a blunt finish. Poor enough to be the old direct-selling company of Pieroth - I presume it is. 74/100.

Flight three. Other whites

Bourgogne Blanc, Tollot-Beaut, 1989
Medium yellow colour. Lovely, toasted, brioche nose. Nutty and slightly cabbagy. Oddly sweet on the palate, but the fruit really has faded. Rather acidic, short and over-the-hill. Shame. 81/100.

Bourgogne Blanc, Tollot-Beaut, 1990
Lively golden colour, deeper than the '89. Subdued nose, but not very fresh. Sweet on the palate, a bit of oak, no real fruit. Past it. 80/100.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Domaine de Nalys, 1989
Clear, pale, straw colour. Very hay-like nose with hints of burnt rubber. Some melon flavour on the palate and lingering shadows of peachy fruit. Nice weight and enough acidity to keep it quite fresh and appealing. Quite good, for drinking over next 3 or 4 years. 85/100.

Bellet, Château de Crémant, 1987
Nice clear, pale yellow colour. Outlandish, really high, shoe-polish aroma. Oxidised palate. Now rough. 70/100.

Cuvée Chevalier Pierre Mosonszentpeter Muskat-Ottonel Ausbruch, Viscount Bernard, 1983 (Hungary)
Unholy alliance of French, German and Hungarian on the label. Looked this one up, and the term Ausbruch refers to a sweetness level from botrytised grapes, somewhere between Beerenauslese and TrockenBA. The Muskat-Ottonel grape variety is not uncommon in Austria/Hungary. Very deep tawny colour. Honeyed but very grapey nose. Lightweight wine, plenty of sweetness but unbalanced. Drink up. 83/100.

Château Fichon St-Croix-du-Mont, 1984
Medium gold. Slightly dirty, synthetic nose. Palate is essence of marzipan. Sugary, thin, pretty awful now. Was it ever good? 72/100.

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