|At the end of the picturesque, almost chocolate box village of Ribeauvillé you come face to face with the immediately recognisable and impossible to miss towers of the Trimbach winery. Unless of course, like us, you are coming the other way – from Bergheim rather than from Riquewihr – in which case you are very likely to drive past it! Once we had found the winery, we had a quick tour of the impressive facilities, before heading to the tasting room. The wines were all very well made and except the Selection de Grains Nobles* and the Vendages Tardive*, were all dry in style.
The Trimbach Estate is family owned and is currently run by the 12th and 13th generations; as a family they have been making wine in Alsace for almost 400 years. Their range is split into different labels.The yellow labels designate either their entry level “classic” range, or their “réserve range”. The main difference between these two levels is the age of the vines, with the grapes from the youngest vines going into the “classic” and the grapes from their older vines going into the “réserve” wines. Their next level up is represented by the “gold label”; these are all from vineyards owned by the family and are mostly from Grand Cru level grapes. They have a top Riesling the “Clos Sainte Hune” which is from a single vineyard within the Grand Cru of Rosacker. As with the majority of Alsace producers they also make a range of sweet wines : the Selection de Grains Nobles and the Vendages Tardive. These, as for all producers, are only made in exceptional years.
My Coup de Coeur from their selection was the Gold Label “Pinot Gris 2005 «Réserve Personnelle»”. This Pinot Gris is from the Osterberg Grand Cru, one of Ribeauvillé’s three Grand Cru vineyards(the other two being Kirchberg, Geisberg). The vines here are on relativity steep slopes with a southern to south-eastern exposure and are grown on predominately Marl soils.
*The Alsatians are very proud, and rightly so, of their sweet wines. Both the Vendage Tardive (Late Harvest) and the Selection de Grains Nobles (Selection of Noble Grapes [literally grains]) have to follow a host of rules before they can be labelled as such; these rules include minimum potential alcohol, a declaration of intent to produce them prior to picking them, and a blind tasting test by the local governing body. This is just a selection of the rules the full details can be found here (in French) – http://www.inao.gouv.fr/public/produits/showTexte.php?comiteNat=1&id_txt=1020
|The Pinot Gris 2005 «Réserve Personnelle» is rich and very ripe, with an intense nose of smoke, quince and pears. Whilst there is a little bit of residual sugar, the crisp acidity more than compensates, making this wine dry. This 2005 is starting to present some development in bottle, showing secondary characters such as dried fruits and an almost truffle note on the palate. The velvety texture and long finish make this a great example of Alsace Pinot Gris.