Tasting of wines of Trimbach by restaurant Chinois on Main, Santa Monica California.
After a nice dinner with Jeff Leve and his group, a nice walk on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice was necessary to recover. Nice beaches, nice sun, incredible bodies by Muscle Beach in Venice, an incredible crowd of every social extremely marginal people. After that, I use the spa activities of the hotel Shutters on the beach, and I am ready for a magnificent event conducted by my friend Bipin Desai.
I go to the restaurant Chinois on Main in Santa Monica for one of the marathon events of Bipin Desai, whose subject is the wines of maison Trimbach. The wines are presented by Jean Trimbach to approximately forty amateurs, from the close circle of Bipin. We are sitting at tables of 8 in a very small room, where the nine wines per flight will be difficult to put. The service of wines has been incredibly serious. 1,500 glasses have been used, with the name of every wine put on the foot of the glass. The menu was extremely delicate, with a subtlety which belongs to the Chinese cook, and which matches so well with Alsatian wines. There was not the classical mistake to put too many spices, which is an enemy to wine.
The menu : trio of foie gras, mousse tart with Kumquat chutney, pastrami on Rye crisp, sautéed with rhubarb / sorbet break / toro tataki with micro peppercress and Shiso Miso vinaigrette / Shangai lobster with curry sauce and crispy spinach / duo of Korabuta pork, crisp belly and roasted loin with sweet and sour tamarind glaze / lacquered carpenter ranch squab breast and leg with spicy shrimp potstickers / citrus pudding cake with vanilla ice cream and blackberry sauce.
The incredible complexity of tastes could have disturbed the wines, but the magic of Chinese cook made that the courses accompanied the wines with elegance.
For my dinners, my input consists in choosing wines of different ages and qualities and to put them in an order which will create a unique dinner. The art of Bipin is to decide which wines will be in which flight. Thereafter, I will indicate some notes and a ranking per flight within these notes.
I recognised some American amateurs whom I know. I was sitting next to Jean-Michel Cazes, whose Lynch Bages will be the star of the lunch of tomorrow, and next to James Suckling, a famous journalist on wines, with whom I have shared some very great events. It is probably the reason why, sitting next to these two people, I did not take very detailed notes.
A very important remark : I tried to drink the wines nearly immediately after they were served, to have the same approach. Because I noticed that the wines changed dramatically when they opened themselves in the glass. And the difference was of a great magnitude, and would have changed my comments and ranking. So, at the moment when I analysed the wines, they were largely not at their optimum. So, in a dinner, the wines would be largely better than what is noted. These wines are made for gastronomy more than for tasting like this one, but it is clear that such an event is a unique chance to study a domain in the best possible way.
First flight :
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1989 VT : very expressive nose, full of joy, precise. Magnificently made. I tend to prefer it to the "Hors Choix"
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1989 VT "Hors Choix" : very expressive nose. The "hors choix" is extremely sweeter. The "normal" is longer. Bipin prefers this one.
Second flight :
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1993 : Great acidity, very strict and closed.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1994 : More fruity, more round.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1992 : Mineral nose, rude, very virile. Magnificently made.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1994 : More stuff in this well constructed wine.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1992 : Magnificent, beautiful, well structured, elegant. Ranked 4th of the 2nd flight.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1988 : Very great generosity, very nice. So round. I was so happy that I decided to rank it as first before the CSH, just for the pleasure. Ranked 1st of the 2nd flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1993 : excellent, magnificent. Ranked 3rd of the 2nd flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1988 : This wine was added and served after the others. Very great and complex. Ranked 2nd of the 2nd flight.
Third flight :
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 2000 : A little closed, very nicely coloured, deep, but rather strict.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1999 : Very rich, very concentrated, but is limited at this moment of its life.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1998 : Not structured enough.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1997 : Mineral nose, nicely opened. I love that wine which is easy now. Ranked 2nd of the 3rd flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 2000 : Promises to be a very great wine. The promises are obvious. Ranked 1st of the 3rd flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1999 : A little closed.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1998 : Not yet opened, but some minutes later, it broadens its taste.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1997 : Promises a lot. When it is opened, it is great. Ranked 3rd of the 3rd flight.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1996 : Fruity nose. Nice in mouth.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1995 : Rather bitter. Slightly corked.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1985 : Very handsome. A little tight, but expressive. Very long in mouth.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1979 : Less coloured, it is a wine for gastronomy. I was thinking of meat when drinking it.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1996 : Exceptional, promising. The attack is spectacular, and the power is impressive. Ranked 3rd of the 4th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1995 : Great race. Acidity, Stronger. More wild than the 1996. Ranked 4th of the 4th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1985 : Purely magic. The integration of the wine is remarkable. It is really a great wine. Ranked 2nd of the 4th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1979 : It is tired. And closed.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1975 : Very nice, handsome. A little in a position being between two ages. When it opens, it is great. Ranked 1st of the 4th flight.
Fifth flight :
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1990 : Good wine, but a little tight.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1989 : Not bad. Rather fruity, but paradoxally rather dry.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1983 : A little tired.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1976 : Corked. I am so sorry as I would have liked to compare it to the CSH of the same age.
Cuvée Frédéric Emile Trimbach 1971 : Very nice, very round and accomplished.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1990 : A magnificent wine, very beautiful. Ranked 4th of the 5th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1983 : Very round, integrated. Great wine. Ranked 3rd of the 5th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1976 : Magnificent. This wine is absolutely perfect. Conform to what I have already drunk. Ranked 1st of the 5th flight.
Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1971 : Very nice. Aged, with no doubt, but great and nice. Magnificent at this age. Ranked 2nd of the 5th flight.
As I could predict, the 1976 CSH is the absolute star of this dinner. But many wines were great. And CFE has performed very well, and instead of being dominated by CSH, it showed how great it can be.
Jean Trimbach, who is, if I remember well, of the 13th generation of the family owning the vineyard, talked about his wines with passion but with the calm attitude permitted by such an history. Such an experience shows, once more, that we should give more interest to the Alsatian wines, so passionate wines.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered