Country, Region: France, Alsace
Appellation: Alsace Selection de Grains Nobles (SGN)
‘(made from the third of three passes through Trimbach's holding in the grand cru Geisberg, on November 5) Pale medium-gold color. Exotic yellow fruits, roasted pineapple and white raisin on the nose. Hugely sweet but sappy, pure and focused. A large-scaled fruit bomb, with penetrating spice and caraway seed notes and electric acidity. Not at all overly sweet at 74 grams/liter residual sugar. A brilliant example of the ineffably pure botrytis of this vintage: even at SGN ripeness, this is still clearly identifiable as riesling. In the past couple of decades, this wine has been made only in 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2001. There's always a breeze coming through the deep valley of Aubeure, notes Pierre, so it's rare that any kind of rot takes root on this fruit.’ 96+ points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, November 2003.
'Trimbach is at the summit of dry white winemaking.' Clive Coates M.W.
'Clos St Hune, the Alsace Riesling by which all others are judged.' Andrew Jefford.
With viticultural origins going back to 1626 this family owned estate produces some of the finest wines not only of Alsace, but indeed the entire world of wine. Around the villages of Ribeauvillé and Hunawihr, the Trimbach family owns 27 hectares of vineyards including 1.67ha of Rosacker Grand cru (which produces the highly famed Clos Sainte Hune Riesling) as well as parcels of Geisberg and Osterberg (blended to make the equally renowned Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile). Geisberg and Osterberg are located on the hill rising up behind the ‘new’ family winery on the edge of Ribeauvillé. The family moved from their ‘old’ winery in Hunawihr in the 1890’s! Indeed, the label of Clos Sainte Hune depicts the view to the local church from the old winery in Hunawihr.
According to Jean Trimbach, the house style is aiming for ‘harmonious wines that are concentrated, not heavy; fruity, not sweet; bracing rather than fat; polite rather than voluptuous.’ To that end, fermentations are cool and slow, maloloactic fermentation is not carried out and the wines are bottled early to retain freshness.
The dry Rieslings are usually made with less than 5g/l of residual sugar, whereas the dry Gewürztraminers might carry up to 10g/l. The wines are then aged in the cellar for at least one year; up to 5 years or more for the top wines. Even the richer Vendanges Tardive and Selection de Grains Nobles wines are made with more restraint than is usual in Alsace more generally: VT Rieslings typically carry 15-40g/l; VT Gewürztraminer around 50-75g/l; and SGN typically from 100g/l.