Tempe, whose wines can take a year or more to ferment and typically spend a full two years in barrel (and sometimes three!), had nothing even close to being finished to show me last September. I offer my notes below for the simple reason that these wines are still developing in barrel today. In September, the unhurried Tempe was barely ready to discuss the '05 vintage, although he did note that riesling vines planted on granite were most likely to suffer a blockage of maturity during the warm, dry summer. (Vintage '59 Imports, Washington, D.C.)
High-toned pineapple aroma. Superripe and sweet, with near-VT weight. As glyceral as this is, there's also terrific lift and acidity to the candied pineapple and marzipan flavors. Finishes broad, fresh and very long.
(tasted at the end of its fermentation) Hazy appearance. Rather disturbed aromas of smoke, earth, clove and caramel apple. Concentrated flavor of crystallized lemon peel, with some fermentation aromas still apparent. Superb acids give this very intense wine a light touch. I tasted this wine with Tempe after the 2003 version and this showed far more varietal typicity.
(this is Tempe's vineyard-designated blend of two-thirds gewurztraminer and one-third pinot gris; tasted from a 350-liter barrel) Thick, hazy appearance. Ripe apple, lemon and blood orange aromas framed by piquant spices. Juicy and dense, with the vibrant blood orange fruit complicated by spices and smoked meat-not to mention a faint saline character. Almost dry today near the end of its fermentation; Tempe emphasizes that it will be completely dry by the end. This boasts terrific intensity and snap.
(from the 1930s planting in the lieu-dit Steinnigerweg that Tempe usually calls "S") Hazy orange-gold. Highly perfumed aromas of honeysuckle and clove. Supersweet and fat with fruit; with its higher sugar and lower acidity than the Rodelsburg, this is easy to view today. A flavor of overripe pear is joined by decadent honeycomb on the long finish.
(picked in September but at VT weight, with surmaturite Exotic fruits, apricot, honey and roasted nuts on the nose. Superconcentrated and very sweet, with thoroughly ripe stone fruit flavors complicated by minerality and enlivened by a distinctly tangy botrytis character, which has concentrated the wine's acids. This boasts an amazingly chewy texture for pinot blanc.
Profound aromas of lime, lichee, smoked meat, rose oil and clove. Hugely concentrated wine that offers superb inner-mouth perfume. The combination of electric acidity and energy from the calcaire really shocks the palate, but this is already harmonious. Apricot tart, orange, spice and meat flavors boasts outstanding depth. This has all the gewurztraminer food groups covered.