Along with Domaine Paul Blanck, the estate of Jacky and Maurice Barthelme has recently ascended to two-star status based on the wines I tasted in early May from the 1999 and 2000 vintages. And Domaine Albert Mann must surely be one of the top ten sources in Alsace for gewurztraminer. Maurice Barthelme told me that the flowering was protracted in 1999, unfolding over a three-week period rather than the more typical ten days, but that warm weather after August 15 ripened the fruit nicely. However, yields in some spots were quite high, he admitted. In the grand cru vineyards, he pointed out, the estate production was as much as 50% lower in 2000. The latter vintage featured the domain's earliest harvest to date, and strict selection was essential. Vinification was trickier than in '99, said Barthelme. (Weygandt-Metzler Importing, Unionville, PA)
Lime skin and linden flower on the nose. Bright, fresh and slightly hard-edged; a firm, nicely dense pinot blanc with good cut.
Green-tinged color. Subtle hints of smoke and fresh herbs on the nose. Dense, dry and bright; more stony than the basic pinot blanc and rather uncompromising today. Serious pinot, tightly wound but vibrant and persistent.
Lemon and spicy oak on the nose. Fleshy and layered in the mouth, with a penetrating lemony character. Complicated notes of flowers and spices. Finishes with a hint of tannins from the wood.
Very floral aromas of lime and verbena. Fairly dense, dry and rich, but elegantly styled. The aromatic verbena tea note repeats in the mouth. Finishes fat, chewy and nicely persistent. Not dilute like so much 2000 muscat: a hailstorm on June 7 sharply reduced the crop level, according to Barthelme.
Still very cloudy. Pineapple, lime and mint on the nose. Very dry and citric in the mouth, but has noteworthy volume. Finishes quite brisk, with a buttery nuance.
Pale, green-tinged color. Aromas of vineyard peach, pineapple, candied citrus peel, pear and mint. Very rich and quite dry; pungent riesling with intriguing hints of red berries, minerals and granitic earth. "Like the Faller style," says Mann about this rather powerful, uncompromising riesling. Quite sappy and stony. Finishes very long and quite dry, with a floral aspect. I like this.
Pungent aromas of grapefruit, minerals and flint. Rich and fat, with a lovely touch of sweetness but very good cut. Intensely flavored and very well balanced. Racy botrytis notes add to the wine appeal. Bright flavors of mandarin orange and minerals carry through on the very long back end.
Green-tinged color. Superripe aromas of yellow plum, crystallized lemon peel, smoke and white truffle. Fat, rich and fairly-dry, with floral and citrus notes. Powerful, traditionally styled VT: a wine that should work well at the dinner table. But not quite as pristine as the Riesling Furstentum, which has lower alcohol but more sugar. This will offer early appeal. The Barthelmes were not yet certain that this will be labelled VT.
Knockout musky nose combines white peach, citrus zest, blond tobacco and an almost violent menthol element. Very rich and sweet, but kept fresh by ripe, harmonious acidity. Slightly medicinal suggestion of adhesive tape. Very youthfully unevolved; finishes with a slight bitterness and a note of acacia flower.
Aromas of ripe pit fruits, smoke and butter. Dense, layered and bright, with very good flavor precision. A stony quality contributes to the impression of structure and grip. Not at all heavy. Finishes fairly dry, with notes of lime, vanilla and butter.
Rather closed on the nose. Ripe, soft and sweet, with exotic, slightly syrupy fruit flavors. This has concentration and weight but is not showing much flavor distinction today. Lacks precision and falls just this side of cloying. This was harvested right after an inch of rain fell on September 30, Maurice admitted. Considerably lower in acidity than the Cuvee Albert.
Lively, spicy aromas of mirabelle and butter. Very concentrated, sappy and chewy; moderately sweet but nicely framed by fresh acids. Boasts excellent structure and grip. Finishes brisk, sappy and firm-edged.
(13.5% alcohol with 51 g/l r.s.): Pure, somewhat reserved nose combines fresh and dried apricot, licorice and vanilla; conveys a sense of brooding power. Then fat, dense and very concentrated, with lively inner-mouth flavor of orange oil supported by brisk acidity. Finishes very long, spicy and firm, with a hint of cut hay. A rather powerful style of tokay, more terroir- than cepage-driven, and not at all bitter on the back end. This will need more time in bottle than the Pfersigberg.
Pure, smoky botrytis scents of quince jam, orange marmalade, honey and a hint of strawberry. Superripe and sweet but fresh and bright, with firm acids and solid supporting mineral character. A wine of liqueur-like richness but also pure and fine. Very long on the aftertaste.
Rather simple aromas of smoked meat and room freshener. Fat and full in the mouth, with flavors of spice, lichee and lemon. Bordering on exotic. Finishes with a hint of varietal bitterness.
(14% alcohol with 29 g/l r.s.; this juice was previously declassified into the estate basic gewurztraminer cuvee Complex nose melds spiced meats, curry powder and gunpowder. Rich, spicy and off-dry; not heavy but dense and rather powerful. Strong suggestions of soil and minerals. Should make a very flexible accompaniment to Indian and Chinese dishes.
Subdued floral and peppery aromas. Rich, moderately sweet and fairly fresh, with notes of spices, fruits and pepper. Finishes dryer than its 59 g/l r.s. would suggest but not at all bitter. Still youthfully unevolved.
Highly complex aromas of yellow plum, mandarin orange, violet, minerals and dried flowers, along with a suggestion of redcurrant. Dense and chewy in the mouth, with lovely detail and precision. Comes across as moderately sweet and very firm, with strong soil tones adding to its inner-mouth complexity. Structured and very long on the back end.
Brooding, very rich aromas of smoke, lichee, minerals and saffron. Very ripe and fat, even liqueur-like, but nicely framed by solid acidity. Strong spice and candied fruit flavors. Perhaps best today on the very long back end. This is still an infant; it stuffed with fruit but hasn't yet harmonized, with the result that it comes across as heavier than the Furstentum despite possessing significantly higher acidity.
Expressive aromas of pear liqueur, lime and white flowers. Shows an almost syrupy ripeness but carries its 117 g/l r.s. gracefully, thanks to its fresh acidity and sheer intensity of flavor. Quite closed in on itself today and almost painfully bracing. Finishes very long, with a note of papaya. Very hard to taste today, but the finish is clearly longer and finer than that of the regular riesling from these vines.
Lime, white flowers, gunpowder and an intriguing medicinal note on the nose. Very sweet and chewy, with sound acidity and superb depth of flavor. Lively character of crushed fresh fruits complicated by a minty nuance. Finishes quite long. A muscat SGN of real finesse.
Reserved aromas of candied citrus fruits, lilac and blond tobacco, with hints of red fruits. Chewy, thick and vibrant; combines great solidity and verve. Still extremely reticent and unevolved. Finishes with great palate-staining persistence.
(tasted from barrique; from an early trie Candied lemon peel and new oak notes of vanilla and spice. Superconcentrated but also quite dominated by the oak today; gamey flavors of pineapple, grapefruit, licorice and spicy wood. This is still an infant and will require at least six to eight years to harmonize.
Very rich aromas of dried and candied fruits and spicy oak. Incredibly concentrated and sweet, with the wine unctuousity cut by brilliant acids. Here the strong wood element is nicely integrated. Finishes with extraordinary persistence; this was one of the two or three longest wines of my recent tour of Alsace.
Orange marmalade, quince and a walnut hint of rancio Fat, highly concentrated and mouthfilling, with somewhat unformed flavors of candied fruits brightened by racy acidity. Finishes extremely long, with substantial oak spice showing. Very young and structured for long life.
Smoke and peach aromas. Not especially dense or fleshy but reasonably intensely flavored and classically dry.
Citrus skin, wet stone, flint and linden aromas. Juicy and minerally, with firm supporting acidity; denser than Mann basic 1999 riesling. Fresh and brisk on the back end.
Elegant aromas of pear, minerals and smoke. Penetrating and uncompromisingly dry, with bracing, sharply defined flavors of stone and grapefruit. Finishes sappy and fresh, with a lightly mentholated quality. This has just one gram per liter of residual sugar, a level rarely reached by riesling in Alsace. Recommended for fans of classic bone-dry riesling.
Grapefruit, lemon and hints of softer citrus fruits on the nose. Very supple and rich, with harmonious, ripe acids perfectly balancing the wine 13 g/l r.s. Much fuller and denser than the Schlossberg, and of course far easier to enjoy today. Finishes ripe and quite long.
Aromas of lemon custard, hazelnut and butter. Supple, soft and gently styled, with just enough acidity for its 10 g/l r.s. Has a texture similar to that of chardonnay, with perhaps slightly better acidity. In fact, this fruit-driven tokay can be enjoyed as a chardonnay substitute.
Aromas of peach compote and roasted nuts. Sweet, fat and accessible, with strong, ripe fruit. Not complex but already satisfying.
Oily aromas of superripe peach, honey, smoke and nuts (this fermented very slowly and got a lot of batonnage Superripe, fleshy and sweet, but powerfully structured and still rather tight. Almost tannic on the finish and thus comes across as not much sweeter than the average California chardonnay despite its 25 g/l r.s. A big, rich food wine, very long and spicy on the back end.
Complex nose melds citrus, honeysuckle and smoked meat elements. Very concentrated and fairly sweet, but firm underlying minerality gives it shape and grip. Complicating notes of licorice and butter. The Hengst is more masculine in style, but this rather tender, elegant, very ripe wine offers excellent complexity and strong terroir character.
Expressive, exotic aromas of orange pekoe tea, jasmine and musky spices. Silky, thick and very concentrated, but also fresh and bright, with precise flavors of blood orange and apricot. Offers a compelling combination of velvety texture and vivacity. Very shapely wine, finishing long and subtle, with a hint of saffron. An extraordinary gewurztraminer, for this or any vintage.
Discreet aromas of peach, pear and honey, along with a hint of peony; less open today than the Furstentum vieilles vignes Very rich and intensely flavored but tightly wound; a wine of superb depth. But today the sweetness has the effect of accentuating the alcohol and acidity. Very powerful, firmly structured gewurztraminer that will need several years of aging to harmonize. Seems quite reductively made. Like the old-vines bottling and the Steingrubler, this is very long and juicy on the back end, with no gewurztraminer bitterness.
Honeyed, botrytis-rich aromas of apricot jam, caramel, vanilla, licorice and spices; distinctly high-toned. Supersweet and velvety, but the bracing acids give the wine a captivating sappy quality. A wine of chewy density; not yet complex but has all the elements for future greatness. Note of white raisin. Finishes with considerable power and a slightly aggressive youthful quality.