As readers will recall, Pierre Trimbach considers 2005 to have produced a more classic set of wines than 2004. Yes, it rained during the first week of October following a great September, and rot developed quickly, but the family had picked all of its pinot gris and some of its best gewurztraminer by then. Some riesling was already in, added Trimbach, but not from the estate's best holdings. Trimbach describes the 2005s as austere, and he is sure that they will shut down in bottle. He predicted that they would take three to five years to reopen, "like the 2001s." (Diageo Chateau Estate Wines, New York, NY)
Also recommended: 2005 Riesling (86), 2005 Gewurztraminer (85).
Other wines tasted: 2005 Pinot Blanc*, 2005 Muscat*.
Pale yellow-green color. Delicate aromas of flowers, lime and stone. Juicy and vibrant, with lovely sweet limey fruit given cut by bright acidity (7.8 grams per liter). A brisk, fruit-driven style of riesling that really should be held for two or three years. From a combination of estate vineyards and the house's best purchased grapes; Pierre Trimbach notes that this includes some grand cru juice.
Pale color. Complex nose combines dusty stone, quinine and lime blossom, with a note of white grapefruit emerging with aeration. Began quite tight and citric, but with time in the glass this showed a creamy texture without any loss of inner-palate energy. Almost painfully brisk on the finish. I'd expect a wine like this to go into a shell within the next year or so.
(13% natural alcohol, 6.5 g/l r.s. and 7.8 grams acidity) Subtle aromas of lime skin, peche de vigne and wet stone, with complicating notes of vanilla and mint. Denser and richer than the Frederic Emile, and a step up in concentration; shows a more glyceral texture to its peach and spice flavors. Round, mouthfilling and horizontal. Finishes dry, broad and very long, with a bracing edge of acidity. This and the Fred were picked in mid-October, and "not too late," notes Pierre Trimbach, who is certain that these wines will shut down soon.
Pale yellow-straw color. Ripe aromas of stone fruits, smoke, butter and honey; this smells like pinot gris! Ripe, fat and easygoing, with a lovely hint of sweetness (actually ten grams per liter). This virtually has the weight of chardonnay but is perked up by harmonious, ripe acidity. Rich but shapely wine, from grapes harvested before the rain caused potential alcohol levels to decline. A satisfying drink with a brisk edge to its finish. This is Trimbach's best-selling wine in the U.S.
(from domain fruit, mostly Osterberg and environs) Bright, pale color. Musky aromas of ripe stone fruits and smoke; less obvious and more nuanced than the Reserve. Round, fat and full, with excellent depth to the flavors of nectarine and honey. Offers a lovely combination of sweetness, fruit intensity and energy. Very long and smooth on the back end. Pierre Trimbach notes that this fruit was picked at the beginning of the harvest, with 14.5% potential alcohol; he ranks the '05 with '04 and '00 as among the best recent vintages for this bottling.
(mostly domain fruit; picked before the rain, with 14+% potential alcohol) Reticent but nuanced aromas of citrus peel, lichee and spices. Broader and considerably fruitier than this producer's regular gewurztraminer, with slightly higher residual sugar (10 grams here) giving this a pleasing balance. A spicy, classic food style; firm but not austere. Finishes with decent length.
Subdued nose opens with air to show cured meats, pineapple, mirabelle and brown spices. Sweet, spicy and highly concentrated; powerful but not at all overly phenolic. This has 15 grams of acid but tastes drier owing to its juicy acidity. Finishes very long, with a touch of sweetness and a lovely airy quality. Pierre says the 2000 is great right now but that this needs time. Another '05 gewurztraminer with lovely intensity and breadth.
(just 3,000 bottles made, from old vines in Osterberg, picked at the beginning of the harvest at 16.6% potential alcohol but without botrytis) Good pale color. Aromas of crystallized yellow fruit, lifted by a floral topnote. Concentrated, pure and high-pitched, offering an uncanny combination of considerable sweetness (40 g/l) and fresh acidity. Not hugely concentrated or complex but dense, smooth and stylish. Finishes fresh and not at all overly sweet.
Pale yellow-gold color. Expressive, musky aromas of clove oil and caraway seed. Supersweet (50+ g/l r.s.), lush and uncommonly smooth for the variety, with complex flavors of flowers, ginger and lichee along with an exotic suggestion of banana. A round, full, suave wine that offers impressive volume without excess weight; there's nothing plump or heavy about this classic VT. Finishes with a suggestion of dusty spices. Serve this between the cheese and the dessert, or with foie gras, advises Pierre Trimbach. This fruit was harvested in late October, noted Trimbach, concentrated by passerillage; just a small percentage of the berries were affected by noble rot.
(98 g/l r.s.; from grapes harvested at the end of October) Full medium gold. Exotic, high-toned aromas of orange marmalade, honey and truffle. Superconcentrated, dense, very sweet and chewy, with a distinctly high-toned quality lifting the wine's exotic orange and gamey flavors. Very round, full, silky wine that remains very easy to drink. Pierre Trimbach notes that the VA here is 0.94; the maximum for this category, he told me, is 1.2.