Spontaneously drove to Alsace to spend a beautiful day with the Iversons, got lucky with the weather, which gave us the opportunity to take walks (did not get out often enough lately) and enjoyed myself very much in their company. Lacked the time to take more detailed notes on the many wines poured at Rolly Gassman in the morning, but got the impression they are as good a source for QPR-minded wine buyers as any in Alsace.
For my "verbal rating system", see postscript, if necessary.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Sylvaner Weingarten 2004</b>
Simple but good quality.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Sylvaner Weingarten 1999</b>
Tiny bitter note, fuller-bodied and longer, tasty wine. Thor and Theresa opened a bottle of the same with dinner, very easy to enjoy, off-dry, with a certain mellowness. Very good. As good as Sylvaner gets especially in this price category.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Edelzwicker Terroir des Châteaux-Forts 2004</b>
You can tell this is a blend, just a little complexity, no real depth, nice quaff. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Blanc 2004</b>
A bit light, but tasty enough. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Auxerrois 2002</b>
A bit rubbery, although not bad. Good only.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Auxerrois Rotleibel 2002</b>
Grassier, fuller-bodied, tobacco and a bitter note. Tasty. About very good?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Auxerrois Moenchreben 2001</b>
Smoky, tannic, little apple. About very good. This may be the first Auxerrois of which I have ever bought a bottle, and it may well be the last: my parents thought all right, but all surface, my father calling its fruit complexity phony in character.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Auxerrois Moenchreben 1997</b>
Weird but interesting, herbs, a bit rubbery, impressive for its intensity. Very good. Theresa loved this.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling 2004</b>
An honest little wine, bit light on fruit, but not bad. About good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Réserve Millésime 2001</b>
A bit more mature, perhaps a tiny bit more concentrated, too. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Silberberg 2004</b>
Bit smoky, stony, quite nice. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Silberberg 2003</b>
Superripe, a bit rubbery and rather exotic, longer. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Silberberg 2000</b>
More precise, appley-tannic and blossomy. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Pflaenzerreben 2001</b>
More complex, lemony, minty and stone-dusty, nicely firm wine with good body. Very good! Bought a bottle for my parents, who found it too fat and almost Germanic in its florality. I like the minerality here.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Pflaenzerreben 1999</b>
Simpler and more easy-going than the 2001. Very good?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Pflaenzerreben 1996</b>
More mature of course, but with more depth than the 1999, nice complexity, smokier, some herbs. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Vendanges Tardives Kappelweg 1997</b>
Quite full-bodied, medium-sweet VT. Macerated balm mint. About very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Riesling Vendanges Tardives Pflaenzerreben 1997</b>
Greater sense of vinosity, less floral and fruity, but firmer, with nice balance, longer. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Rorschwihr 2002</b>
Typically light and tannic, not rustic but tight and a bit hard, low on fruit, way too simplistic. Good?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Rorschwihr 2001</b>
A bit fruitier, less oaky than the 2002, perhaps a fraction more flesh on its bones. Good only.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Rodern 2001</b>
Emphasis on forest floor and tree bark top notes, whereas the fruit is barely stronger or more complex. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Réserve Millésime 1997</b>
Roasted meat, spice, difficult combination of ripeness degrees it seemed to me, though not obviously overripe, ended on a metallic canned tomato flavour. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Rodern 1997</b>
Noticeably more concentrated, a firmer wine of more trustworthy since even ripeness, but also more tannic. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Réserve Rolly Gassmann 2003</b>
Harder with more bitter, if also more finely-grained tannin. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Muscat 2004</b>
Floral, quite lively. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Muscat Moenchreben 2004</b>
Firmer, offers cut and minerality, herbs, good body and medium-plus length. About very good?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Muscat Vendanges Tardives 2003</b>
Tangerine liqueur, sound alcohol, well-balanced enough, retaining sufficient liveliness. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Muscat Vendanges Tardives Moenchreben 1997</b>
More solid mouthfeel, nicely balanced, less liqueur-like tangerine here, longer. Very good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Muscat Sélection de Grains Nobles 2003</b>
Muscat SGN is so rarely made we felt privileged we could taste this. Sweeter of course, similar to the VT if the relevant bit more viscous and exotic, and best of all, longer on the finish. About excellent. But not inexpensive, especially considering this would completely pale next to a top Hungarian Muskotály Aszú or F. X. Pichler's legendary 1998 TBA).
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris 2004</b>
Typical soft smoke top note, but not much behind it. About good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Rotleibel 2004</b>
Nicely solid, with darker minerality. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Brandhurst 2002</b>
Less precise, but soft in a pleasant way. Good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Rotleibel 2001</b>
A bit firmer, fuller-bodied, and oily, quite pretty wine, but this was when I started inquiring how much residual sugar there is in such a non-VT-labelled TPG. Over 30 g/l I was told! Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Réserve Rolly Gassmann 2002</b>
Lovely complexity and balance at over 40 g/l r.s. Very good(!)
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives 2001</b>
Flinty minerality, with a touch of tangerine almost as in a Muscat. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Rotleibel 1997</b>
Burnt straw and flinty smoke over exotic jam, typical of 1997 TPG. Very good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Rorschwihr 2000</b>
A nicely balanced and seemingly neutral young wine that still needs to open up. Very good, too, I guess.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles Brandhurst 2003</b>
Sweet, fruity, jammy, not as exotic (yet?) as one might expect in this vintage. Very good! / Very good plus?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer 2004</b>
Mild macerated rose water with some alcohol sticking out. Good?
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer 2001</b>
A bit more precise than the 2004, more floral and fresher. Good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Oberer Weingarten 2002</b>
Better sense of vinosity, longer. About very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer 1999</b>
Quite viscous and sweet, more of the variety-typical rose petal and lychee. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Stegreben 2001</b>
Tiny bitter note here, but offers lovely freshness and harmony. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Haguenau 1999</b>
Sage top note and other herbs, tiny sultanas underneath. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Kappelweg 1998</b>
More depth, minerality and florality, nicely balanced, profited in direct comparison from being a bit more evolved and "together". Very good(!)
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives Rorschwihr 1999</b>
Sweeter of course, round, an easy-going VT. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives Oberer Weingarten 1996</b>
Less fruity (not a vintage that particularly favoured GT), barely firmer acid backbone, will please those who like their GT less tropical. Very good.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives Brandhurst 2001</b>
Fairly exotic, good body and sense of vinosity. Very good(!)
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives Stegreben 1998</b>
A firmer wine, a bit viscous, sweet and oily, longer, but again, this profited from being more evolved. Very good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Brandhurst 1997</b>
Minor medicinality here, sweet, fairly complex. Very good!
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Oberer Weingarten 1997</b>
Better sense of vinosity here, more acidity and length, greater complexity and precision of rose liqueur. Excellent.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Stegreben Cuvée Anne-Marie 1994</b>
99 g/l r.s. More concentrated and viscous, more solid mouthfeel, longer. About outstanding.
<b>Rolly Gassmann Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 1989</b>
From a legendary botrytis vintage, more mature of course, though not at all more serious than the 1994 Cuvée Anne-Marie, fair enough complexity but little depth. Very good!
<b>Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2000</b>
Ordered with lunch from a restaurant wine list. A quite deeply coloured wine, with some watery lightening to the colour that foreshadows one of the essential characteristics of this wine's fruit: an admirably concentrated and highly variety- and soil-expressive 2000 with some tight density at the core and a slightly watery though nicely tannic mouthfeel surrounding it. Nice bacon fat and iron top, plus fine dried herb, earth and spice finesse notes, to some of the deepest and most complex fruit I have encountered in a 2000 Northern Rhône, if without the floral essence characteristic to the tannin, density or meatiness of the 1999. Much easier to approach, although at present partly closed (less so than Thor and I had feared), than the more solidly structured and ageworthy, ultimately more convincing 2001. A rare success for the vintage, the Chaves somehow managed to produce a 2000 that will give satisfaction even to the most discriminating aficionados of Syrah and/or Hermitage. Safely outstanding mid-term Chave with fair-enough upwards potential, already more harmonious at this early stage than the 1994 and 1996, perhaps less round and smooth than the 1997. The level of concentration seemed most reminiscent of that of the 1998 among recent vintages, along with similar overall freshness. Having said all this, I admit from a stylistic perspective I usually prefer to drink a Chave from a lesser vintage to most other dry red wine. Rating: 91+?
With dinner, Thor and Theresa opened a bottle each of the above-mentioned Rolly Gassmann 1999 Sylvaner (see there) and the following:
<b>Albert Boxler Riesling L30M 2004</b>
Lemony-grassy grapefruit, lovely tenderly tannic bitter note, good body, acidity and length. Not the kind of wine I would recommend aging too long, this will be best appreciated over the next few years. About very good quality, still fairly priced.
Greetings from Switzerland, David.
I usually avoid using numerical scores on the web (in order to avoid e-mails solely concentrating on the virtues of numerical rating, since I'd really rather talk about the wines themselves). For those who have problems interpreting my "verbal scoring", the numerical correspondences are as follows:
79 and below = NOT GOOD (i.e. no need to figure out exactly)
80 – 84 = GOOD (same as 16 and over in the European 20-point system)
85 – 89 = VERY GOOD (same as 17 and over; I sometimes use EXCELLENT or ALMOST-OUTSTANDING to indicate 88 – 89)
90 – 94 = OUTSTANDING (same as 18 and over)
95 – 99 = GREAT (or CLASSIC, same as 19 and over; I sometimes use NEAR-PERFECT to indicate a 98 – 99 score)
100 = PERFECT (20 out of 20)
Note I will rarely buy wine below my own EXCELLENT rating (that's where wine really starts standing out for individuality from the mass of technically impeccably-made wines) except for an occasional and there truly exceptional QPR (I must insist any wine in the VERY GOOD category with me is serious stuff, way above average wine, that I still wouldn't buy because I've got to somehow limit my wine buying). But if a wine is costly, it had better be at least OUTSTANDING!