Last week I was invited to taste some wines from Alsace and Champagne. Many of the producers were ones I only by reputation (Boxler, Egly-Ouriet, C. Bouchard) so this was very educational and fun even though I must admit that most of the Champagnes, impressive and interesting though they were, weren't really to my taste.
But we started with a few Boxler Rieslings:
2007 Albert Boxler Riesling Sommerberg JV
JV = young vines. Really lovely and expressive Riesling aromas of a very ripe kind. Rich, a bit simple, ripe and fruity; this seemingly has a touch of RS. The finish has wonderful acidity - much more so than I expected from the rich mid-palate. This is nice if you like an "easy", young, fruit-forward Riesling.
2010 Albert Boxler Riesling Sommerberg D
D = Duttenstein. Very young, mineral, floral and above all, citric. This one tastes dry (but I don't have any info on RS), it is almost steely in style. Pure and citric. Very young but I think will turn out excellent.
2010 Albert Boxler Riesling Sommerberg E
E= Eckberg. Quite a strange and perfumed/grapey aroma for a Riesling - it's almost like some Muscat had been mixed in. The palate is better and more typical: dry, citric and steely and unending.
2010 Albert Boxler Riesling Brand K
K = Kirchberg. A darker, spicier aroma than in the Sommerbergs, but still obviously Alsace Riesling. Good balance and seems dry but it is very rich and spicy. This wine is sulking so just leave it alone, it will become a nice personality with a bit of time.
Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Steffensberg Riesling Auslese feinherb 2011
This wasn't supposed to be in the tasting but we opened it because we were thirsty and wanted to compare a German to the Alsace Rieslings. Quite mute aromas, metallic and charmless and didn't promise much friendliness on the palate. But the palate actually was in better balance than what the nose suggested: slightly sweet, good acidity, not metallic or charmless but really rather nice. But I still prefer the Kab-Spät than trocken or feinherb.
1992 Zind-Humbrecht Tokay Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Vendange Tardive
A really lovely aroma of spice, honey and something savoury and slightly vegetal like peas. Sweet and fairly rich but with enough acidity to keep this very moreish. A rather special sweet wine.
Then we had some Champagne. First a couple small, culty producers, then some big names.
NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru "Les Crayères" VV
12,5% abv. Dark gold colour. Dried fruit aromas and slight oxidation, huge amounts of oak; super-rich palate though it does have good acidity too. It's like a Montrachet with bubbles. And I'm not sure I like it though it is a very impressive wine and I can see why it has its fans. But it is pretty much the opposite style of Champagne that I enjoy drinking.
NV Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs
Much toast and vanilla/coconut oak aromas. Very sweet entry, so sweet it's difficult believe this is non-dosé. Gladly it has good acidity, too, and the oak isn't so obvious on the palate as it is on the nose. But this still isn't quite the style of Champagne I most enjoy.
1989 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé La Grande Dame
A dark orange colour. A sweet, and really rather strange aroma: it smells of oranges and chocolate and toffee - almost as if this had seen plenty of oak (but I thought that wasn't the case?). Small mousse; rich body, quite delicious acidity but then the finish has those strange chocolatey sensations. It is a very fleshy and robust wine and very intriguing for the duration of one glass. But ultimately it just wasn't really my style of wine.
1988 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Rosé
After so many hugely interesting Champagnes that still weren't really to my taste it was nice to have this in the line-up. Quite a dark orange colour. The nose is really lovely: floral and very Pinot with some lovely oolong tea aromas. Fleshy, but not fat or flabby but rather with wonderful precision and high acidity. Unending aftertaste. Lovely.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.