Jean-Christophe Bott
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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Jean-Christophe Bott presses his fruit very slowly, then allows the juice to settle for anywhere from 6 to 30 hours so that he won't have completely clear juice for the fermentation. He uses mostly wild yeasts, adding selected yeasts only when the fermentations are going too slowly. The 2000s were to have been racked at the end of May and then moved to tank, with minimal sulfuring and with their fine lees remaining. Bott describes his mostly dry, fruit-driven village wines as "vins de gastronomie"(i.e., bottles that are especially flexible at the dinner table), while his more serious, terroir driven grand crus are "pleasure wines" whose complexity enables them to be appreciated on their own. Bott prefers wines that are balanced for drinking a year or two after the bottling, rather than five or six years later. He pointed out that the '99 wines "support their residual sugar less effectively than the '00s, especially the gewurztraminers," adding that "1999 is a delicate vintage without huge concentration." I was not surprised to find that some of the Bott-Geyl '99s are rather loosely knit. The 2000s, however, are more concentrated and structured, with more convincing fruit and soil character. Beginning in 2000, the domain has been farmed according to the precepts of biodynamie (European Cellars, New York, NY; North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA.)

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Burgreben

Aromas of lime, apple and pear, along with a suggestion of minerals. Supple and easygoing, with moderate concentration and decent acidity. Not an especially fruity style but offers better flavor intensity and length than this estate Riesling Riquewihr bottling.

85

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Schoenenbourg

Complex aromas of lime, lemon and powdered stone, along with a suggestion of toasted meal. Fat, full and gentle; lacks ultimate grip but offers good texture, ripeness and length. Just slightly sweet, at 7 g/l r.s.

87

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Mandelberg

Honeyed apple and pear blossom on the nose. Expressive and rather easygoing, with 13 grams/liter residual sugar accentuating the wine ripeness. Not especially concentrated or deep, but nicely balanced for early drinking.

88

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Beblenheim

Flowers, peach, honey and a hint of lees on the nose. Fruity and easygoing, with complicating notes of acacia flower and vanilla and decent supporting acidity. Good basic pinot gris, fresh and nearly dry.

86

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Schloesselreben

Aromas of flowers, spices, honey and chalk. Fairly dense and bright, with ripe flavors of soft citrus fruits. Shows more spine than the gewurztraminer Beblenheim bottling. Finishes fairly dry and persistent.

86

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Furstentum

Smoke, tangerine, white flowers and honey on the nose. Sweet and creamy in the mouth, with harmonious, rather soft acidity. A gentle, fruit-driven, very ripe tokay.

87

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz

Tangy, fresh aromas of orange oil, honey and minerals. A step up in grip and intensity; full and dense. Conveys a strong impression of soil tones. A nicely structured wine with a bright, firm finish and good persistence.

89

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Sonnenglanz

Pretty aromas of grapefruit, white flowers, honey and spices. Full, creamy and attractive, with nicely restrained sweetness. A rather gently styled wine but with good concentration and some grip. Finishes with good length. "An experiment," says Bott.

88

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Sonnenglanz Vieilles Vignes

Pale gold color. Very expressive nose combines orange peel, flowers and honey. Fat, silky and full; moderate sweetness nicely buffered by the wine mineral spine. This is opulent and mouthfilling. Finishes with decent grip and a slight austerity that promises well for the wine's evolution in bottle.

89

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Furstentum

Pure aromas of yellow plum, smoke, rose petal and lichee. Ripe and creamy-sweet, with intense, lively orange oil and orange blossom flavors. Finishes persistent and firm, with lingering spice and smoked meat flavors. Very attractive, varietally accurate gewurztraminer.

90

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz Vendange Tardive

Mandarin orange, tangerine, honey and nutmeg on the nose. Fat, sweet and full; an opulent, gently styled pinot gris with compelling fruit and sneaky persistence. Subtle finishing flavors of honey and spice.

90

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz Selection de Grains Nobles

High-pitched aromas of mandarin orange, quince and yellow plum; slight suggestion of heat. Very sweet, thick flavors of orange, quince and vineyard peach. Acids a bit soft for SGN. Finishes with a faintly bitter edge. Today I prefer the balance of the Sonnenglanz VT.

89(+?)?

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Pinot Blanc

Lemon and butter on the nose. Juicy and fruit-driven, with a touch of sweetness. Fairly sizable pinot, at 13.6% alcohol.

84-86

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Riquewihr

Slightly rustic aromas of spring flowers and banana. Quite dry in the middle palate, with good cut and thrust. Clearly fresher than the '99 bottling.

84-87

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Burgreben

Musky aromas of lime, quinine and chalk. Dry, muscular and rather uncompromising, with flavors of lime and quinine. Verges on austere.

86-88

1999 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Grafenreben

Candied citrus peel, flowers, herbs and a hint of char on the nose. Juicy lemon flavors framed by brisk acidity. Has good volume and strong citric character. Fresh finish is dryer than the wine 10 g/l r.s. would suggest.

87-88

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Grafenreben

Honeysuckle and grapefruit on the nose. Dense and dry, with grapefruit and powdered stone flavors in need of a racking. This boasts solid flavor intensity and structure. Somewhat austere on the back end, which features very good sneaky persistence.

87-89

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Schoenenbourg

Honeysuckle, lime and quinine on the nose. Very dry and minerally, with sharply defined fruit flavors. But rather austere today, with the wine acidity and mineral component currently in opposition. Needs a racking.

88-90?

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Mandelberg

Ripe, fruit-driven aromas of peach and pear. Off-dry and intensely flavored, with harmonious acidity and sneaky length. Already showing a lot of personality. This wine always keeps some residual sugar, Bott told me. It also develops a bitter almond aspect as it ages, which tends to balance out the wine sweetness.

88-90

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Grafenreben Vendange Tardive Cuvee Pierre-Antoine

Aromas of citrus skin, poire, honeysuckle and white flowers. Moderately sweet, dense and fresh, with floral and honey flavors. Juicy and delicious. Persistent finish features sweet fruit leavened by ripe acidity.

89-91

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Beblenheim

Charry aromas of butter, peach and flower blossom. Gentle, full and harmonious, with light sweetness (10 g/l r.s.). Finishes with good length but could use a bit more definition. A rather high 14% alcohol.

87-88

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Schloesselreben

Spicy aromas of honeysuckle and minerals. Fat and ripe; a big, pliant mouthful of sweet fruit salad flavors. Then finishes nicely firm, with slow-building fruit. Generous, easygoing pinot gris.

88-90

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Furstentum

Peach, spring flowers and honey on the nose. Juicy and firmly structured, with nicely defined honey and peach flavors. Chewy and concentrated. These young vines produced just 35 hectoliters per hectare in 2000, according to Bott, and this wine has the backbone to gracefully carry its 40 g/l r.s.

89-92

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz

Reduced aromas of citrus peel and powdered stone. Firm, focused flavors of lemon, lime and vineyard peach; already offers lovely inner-mouth perfume. Ripe acidity gives the fruit a succulent quality and firm spine. Finishes with excellent cut and length.

90-92

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Beblenheim

Spicy aromas of smoked meat and coconut. Fat, ripe and off-dry, with attractive, fresh lemon and spice flavors. Finishes good length and firmness.

87-88

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Schloesselreben

Reticent aromas of yellow plum and spice. Rich, sweet and slightly exotic; a rather delicate, pliant wine with modest delineation and thrust. This is more refined and minerally than the Beblenheim bottling, but the latter wine shows riper fruit flavors. Finishes with a faint bitterness.

87-88

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Sonnenglanz

Precise aromas of minerals, smoked meat and nutmeg. Rich, spicy and backward, with strong minerality contributing to the impression of power and structure. Rich but quite unevolved. Finishes long and spicy. An attractive balance of 14% alcohol and 25 g/l r.s. Serious stuff.

89-92

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Furstentum

Cool, floral aromas of honeysuckle, lichee, minerals and citrus fruits. Very rich but tightly wound, with precise vineyard peach and citrus flavors. Firm minerality and lively acids contribute to the impression of firmness. Still a bit rough around the edges, but has all the elements to make an excellent bottle.

89-91

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz Vendange Tardive

Subdued but tangy aroma dominated by peach. Thick and generous, with ripe, well-integrated acidity nicely framing the pit fruit and brown spice flavors. A long, pliant fruit bomb.

89-91

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Sonnenglanz Vendanges Tardives

Slightly oxidative aroma of mirabelle; currently aging without the protection of SO2 Then intensely flavored and firmly structured, with yellow fruit and spice flavors. Finishes with tangy, spicy botrytis notes and a dusty texture.

89-92?

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Furstentum Vendange Tardive

Heavily botrytized aromas of pineapple and honey. Juicy, intense flavor of tangy pineapple; as ripe as this is, it also shows accurate varietal character. Terrific fruit and persistence on the back end.

90-92

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer Sonnenglanz Selection de Grains Nobles (half bottle)

Rather delicate botrytis notes of pineapple and yellow plum, along with a slightly metallic reductive quality. Unctuous but smooth and fine, with powerful fruit nicely framed by pineappley acidity. Really builds impressively on the firm finish. Lovely balance.

91-93

2000 Domaine Bott-Geyl Tokay-Pinot Gris Sonnenglanz Selection de Grains Nobles

Honey and pineapple on the nose; distinctly more roasted than the Sonnenglanz VT. Supersweet and thick but not at all heavy, with succulent, palate-staining flavors of apricot, quince, pineapple and honey. A real fruit bomb, with compelling sucrosity and superb persistence. Here the noble rot concentrated the acids along with the grape sugars. Currently carrying 11% alcohol and more than 200 g/l r.s.

92-94
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