Grapevine Archive for Beyer

Mon 21 Feb 2011

More from Alsace

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Day two and the weather’s not so good: damp and foggy. Up to see the vineyards overlooking Riquewihr: really very steep and difficult to work. Cheerfully told the Moselle is worse.

Extraordinarily, Hugel’s whole operation is in the centre of this pretty and cramped medieval village – underground. Little sign of it in the entrance room until an almost secret door is opened…

Hugel, Trimbach and others don’t use the Grand Cru designation for their best vineyards and wines. Hugel uses ‘Jubilee’ to denote their third level, above ‘Classic’ and ‘Tradition’, and they are good. No fertilisation, sweetening (chaptalisation) or oak (of course). Founded in 1639, making The Society (1874) a recent invention by comparison.

Then onto Trimbach (1626) to taste with the 12th generation and to meet the 13th. We worked our way through the ‘09s. Austere rieslings; again hard for me to imagine how these would emerge eventually. The pinot gris and gewurz are rounder, easier to understand now. Finally a few ‘05s and a 2002 gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive, which was remarkable.

Jean Trimbach, Oliver Johnson & Marcel Orford-Williams

Jean Trimbach, Oliver Johnson & Marcel Orford-Williams

Then off to lunch: pig’s knuckle and sauerkraut. Delicious. I was warned that Jean (Trimbach) might have a quick burst of song and was not disappointed!

35 more wines at Beyer, including the 2010 pinot blanc, which was fresh and very pleasant. Again Marcel is focusing on the 2009s for his May/June offer.

Back to Basle for the flight home after not far short of 200 wines tasted in 2 days. Marcel will continue for 3 more days: 500 wines. Last year’s offer contained 35. This careful selection and expertise is at the heart of The Society – does any other merchant taste 500 Alsace wines with their growers? Marcel deserves the Specialist Merchant of the Year award.

Then, as I began, Gatwick, rain, M25, roadworks …

Oliver Johnson
Chief Executive