2009 was an excellent vintage in Alsace that produced lovely, ripe wines with great concentration and depth. The previous winter was mild and very dry, and bud-break got off to an early start when spring arrived. Ample rain and warm temperatures in May kept the vines’ progress moving at a good clip, and there was a hot spell in late May that set records. Early ripening sites finished flowering before the end of the month, but others got caught out in early June when temperatures dropped dramatically.
July was about average in terms of rainfall and temperature, and the stage was set for a good-sized, early harvest. August was mostly hot and dry, and veraison took place in good conditions, compressed and even, which made up for some of the disparity in bunches from the split flowering in June.
Ripening slowed at some sites in the weeks leading up to harvest, as hot, dry conditions put stress on the vines. Many growers worried about acidities dropping and picked on the early side to keep the wines fresh. As a result, many of the 2009s show slightly lower acidity than the 2008s. Warm days and cool nights returned in mid September, allowing other growers to pick over a wide window for optimal ripeness. Grapes came in healthy with no damage from rot or disease.
Domaine Schoffit originated in Colmar and has since expanded outward -- farther than anyone thought possible. Founded by Robert Schoffit, his son Bernard now manages the estate. Suffice it to say that he has elevated this Domaine to its greatest imaginable height. Bernard is a reliable source for creamy-rich and often high-alcohol Rieslings with considerable weight. Even the dry bottlings here normally have significant residual sugar. Schoffit also makes a powerful, thick and weighty Pinot Blanc in the style of Pinot Gris: with plenty of smoky, tropical fruit and chewy texture. Schoffit works vineyards both in the Harth, just outside the town of Colmar, in addition to newly acquired steep slopes in Rangen, near the Clos St. Theobold. This latter parcel had been mostly abandoned, thanks to the formidable challenge of working there. Schoffit however, has proven himself capable, and much more, producing extraordinary wine of immense concentration from these low yielding vines.
Ranges from dry to sweet, but deeply aromatic in all styles
Munster cheese, pork, goose, spicy Asian food
One of the wine world's love-it-or-hate-it grapes, Gewürztraminer is for many wine lovers the signature variety of Alsace. Its highly perfumed aromas of rose petal, smoked meat, lychee, grapefruit, and spices are immediate and captivating, although some examples lack refinement and seem a bit blowzy owing to low acidity and high alcohol. Gewürztraminer is as unlike the steelier, more aristocratic Riesling as a white grape can be. No other region of the world has been able to produce significant quantities of Gewürztraminer that even approach the decadent richness and exotic fruit qualities that the best producers in Alsace achieve. Still, other than late-harvest versions, Gewürztraminer is normally a dry wine in Alsace, despite smelling like a sweet one. Gewürztraminer marries beautifully with rich, fatty dishes like pork and goose or ripe cheeses, as well as with the exotic spices of Moroccan, Indian, and Far Eastern cuisines.