This is a classy, dry, refreshing, complex and benchmark Alsace Riesling. Get to know this wine and you will begin to see why Alsace is such an important wine region and why Riesling is making such waves in recent years.
Excellent with an enormously wide range of food, it is full of yellow apple and unripe near notes with beautiful natural richness. Sashimi, poultry, pork, squid, asparagus and more and more...
Maison Trimbach is one of the most genuinely interesting and remarkable winery stories that you'll come across in France. Or Europe for that matter. Or the world, really. They have been at the forefront of high-quality wine-making in France for 13 generations, since at least the foundation of the house in 1626. Think about that: Bach hadn't been born; Mozart's grandparents weren't born and it was the year that the Renaissance-Tudor English composer John Dowland (not a cheery chap) died.
It's 85 years before the establishment of the first of the demarcated places of origin for wine growing and production in Europe - Chianti, Carmignano, Valdarno di Sopra and Pomino. In a similarly barely-credible incredible survival to that of Ricasoli in Tuscany, the Trimbach family still do what they did all those years ago. It's more successful than a Royal family...
They are based in the town of Ribeauvillé and this is important because of the town's situation and relationship to the vineyard area that surrounds it. In the four hundred odd years that have followed, they have grown a bit and now farmland in six different villages, which means that they have the ability to blend and maintain a house style with greater ease and consistency than otherwise would allow. It also means that they are able to produce higher volumes of the top single vineyard wines as the grapes from these places don't need to be shared around to beef-up other cuvées.
It's a clever plan but they still only own about 40 hectares in total, which is really quite meagre compared with other regions... but they are in long-term relationships with many other growers who, as they say, are "loyal to the Trimbach cause". The soils in the region vary, as you might expect over six villages, but are a mixture of limestone, sandstone and marl, which give enough drainage and support to the needs of the vines.
The next important feature is the presence of the Vosges mountains to the West. These act as a rain barrier - remember how far north Alsace really is and it's pretty astonishing to realise that it is the second driest wine region in France. Clouds move east across the French landscapes but break over the top of the mountains, leaving the vineyards in Alsace to be perfectly dry for much of the year.
Trimbach make one decision that is really very much a winery one rather than a vineyard one, and that is to bottle their wines in the spring following the harvest - uniformly.
This certainly retains freshness, but it also prevents further aging impact from oak barrels or from grape skin contact. It's a very considered move and the fact that the wines are so varied and stunningly good year after year, shows just how right they get the decision and just how high the quality of the vineyards really is.
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