Like a number of his colleagues in Alsace, Christian Bas told me about the problems created by bees and fruit flies in 2000: the grapes were already ripe while the weather was still warm and humid and the insects still active. As the grapes matured very rapidly in the last days before the harvest, quality was variable, said Bas, with some problems from rot and high yields. Bas recently split with cousin Jacques Weber, who is starting his own operation. New Zealand enologist Paul Pujol, who made the 2000s along with Weber, has stayed on as winemaker at Kuentz-Bas. This estate tends to release its grand cru and late-harvest wines on the late side, and thus I was unable to see many of the more important 2000s. Note: the wines labelled "Collection" were previously called Reserve Personnelle and come from the domain own holdings. (Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA)

1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Cuvee Tradition

Aromatic nose features peach, butter and spice. Supple and easygoing, with good fruit and freshness. Not especially complex but nicely balanced. A bit narrow on the finish.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Muscat d'Alsace Collection Sigille de Qualite

Musky aromas of lime and quinine. Supple, ripe and perfumed in the mouth. In a rather easy, off-dry style. Quite tasty and nicely persistent.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Muscat d'Alsace Pfersigberg

Pale color. Ginger, licorice and grapefruit peel aromas. Precise flavors of licorice and stone; a muscat with real finesse. Finishes leanish and dry but with sneaky length.


2000 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Cuvee Tradition

Notes of lime and spice on the nose. Juicy, bright and on the lean side; less fat and fruity than the '99 but nicely fresh.


2000 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Riesling Tradition

Bracing aromas of lime skin, licorice and wet stone. Bright, tight, fairly intense flavors of lime and dusty stone. Finishes with good grip and persistence.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Riesling Eichberg

Complex nose combines lime, ginger, licorice, spring flowers and minerals. Dense, smooth and rich, with a strong flavor of dusty stone. A grand cru in need of aging. Quite rich and persistent.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Riesling Pfersigberg

Aromas of lemon cream pie, grapefruit and dusty stone. Quite dry and spicy but currently backward and closed in on itself. Nicely concentrated, especially in light of the full crop in '99. Finishes long and gripping.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Riesling Rangen

Flinty, smoky nose hints at exotic fruits. Very rich and fruity; a distinctly sweeter wine than the Pfersigberg but less aromatically interesting in the mouth today. But solid acidity suggests that this very ripe, long wine will reward three or four years of additional bottle aging.


2000 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Cuvee Tradition

Aromas of candied fruits, banana and butter. Soft and fat, with modest flavor complexity. Relies more on its alcohol than its acidity for balance. Could use a bit more penetration.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Collection

Butter, apricot and a hint of honey on the nose. Fat and full but rather closed today; hints of minerals and earth. A rather dry, muscular style of tokay, with good richness and somewhat elevated alcohol. Finishes dry and persistent.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Eichberg

Spices, lime and dusty stone on the nose. Much sweeter and deeper than the Collection bottling; concentrated flavors of fruit salad and minerals are nicely framed by bright acids. Possesses impressive structure and length. This tokay will need time to absorb its moderate residual sugar.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Rangen

Spice, butter, flint, honey and exotic fruits on the nose. Concentrated and fairly sweet but strong acidity keeps this very rich wine from cloying. Just short of viscous.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Tradition

Slightly diffuse aromas of smoked meat and spices. Soft, moderately rich and dry; good honest basic gewurztraminer for the table.


2000 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Tradition

Smoke, spice and a hint of Munster cheese on the nose. Quite dry and penetrating, but not yet expressive. Faintly bitter-edged finish.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Collection

Clove, smoked meat and mint on the nose. Rich, ripe and off-dry, with enticing fruit flavors and harmonious acidity. Nicely light on its feet. Finishes with very good length.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Eichberg

Subdued aromas of clove and smoke. Just off-dry and quite closed; sound acidity keeps the wine sweetness in check. Pure in the middle palate but slightly harsh on the back end.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Pfersigberg

Complex, spicy, classic aromas of rose petal, clove and smoked meat. Big, rich and moderately sweet; a lovely mouthful of gewurztraminer fruit. Finishes very long and spicy, without any phenolic harshness. "We need this level of ripeness for the terroir to really show itself," notes Bas.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive Cuvee Caroline Recolte le 25 Novembre

Deep aromas of pit fruits, mirabelle, lichee and smoke. Superconcentrated, unctuous fruit is sappy and vibrant thanks to concentrated, grapefruity acids. A succulent, beautifully balanced wine with terrific thrust. Real essence of pinot gris.


1999 Domaine Kuentz-Bas Tokay-Pinot Gris Cuvee Jeremy Selection de Grains Nobles

Pale yellow-gold. Superripe aromas of crystallized yellow fruits, honey and earth. Even thicker than the '99 tokay VT but with bracing acidity framing the powerful, pure, expansive fruit. Possesses more of everything than the VT and finishes with extraordinary persistence. But the VT has even better balance for drinking in the near term.

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