Domaine Albert Mann Riesling Alsace
Furstentum Grand Cru 2009
Rated 91WS, 90WA
If you are an avid reader of these newsletters, you know that I am a huge fan of Riesling. More often than not, when I am featuring a Riesling it is from Germany, because there are so many imported to the United States that we are able to pick and choose our favorites to buy in quantity and feature. This wine presents an opportunity to either try something new, or to reintroduce yourself to the deliciously well-made and interesting wines from the very special Alsace region of France.
Alsace lies just across the border from Germany, in northeast France. In fact, during the course of history and in particular World War II, the border in Alsace between France and Germany was moved so often that there were times that the people didn't even know where they currently lived! It is an entirely different culture in Alsace than in the rest of France, with much German influence in terms of culture and food, and where most people not only speak French, but also German.
However, when it comes to the wines, Alsacian Rieslings and German Rieslings taste more like distant cousins than the same grape. The rules are also different, where in Germany, wines are labeled based on the degree of ripeness that the grapes have achieved, where in Alsace, wines are labeled with just the varietal, and a vineyard site, especially if the vineyard was given Grand Cru status. Following along with the French style, certain vineyards were given the elevated Grand Cru status, and are known as the best in the region. Today's featured wine comes from one of these Grand Cru classified vineyards.
Domaine Albert Mann was started as a joint effort between two winemaking families with winemaking history dating back to the 17th century. Domaine Albert Mann has also gone through the effort of being certified Organic, and is in the process of becoming certified as Biodynamic, as they have been practicing the principles of biodynamics since 2010. Many wineries believe in these practices, and use them daily, but it takes a lot of extra effort to go through the certification process. However, the family believes that these practices impart to the grapes the purest flavors of the terroir that they come from, and give the grapes and the earth that they are grown in a harmonic balance.
This Riesling, from the Grand Cru vineyard site of Furstentum, is from the 2009 vintage, which marks the 30th vintage for Domaine Albert Mann. As always, it has very positive reviews from the wine press.
Rated 91 Points by the Wine Spectator - "Just off-dry, this smoky white is lightly honeyed to accent its bountiful cantaloupe, yellow peach, apricot and clementine flavors. It's all backed by tangy acidity, which keeps this medium-bodied wine bright and lively, with a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2018. 25 cases imported."
Rated 90 Points by the Wine Advocate - "With the Barthelme’ 2009 Riesling Furstentum we cross into territory that is distinctly sweet – if surprisingly subtly so, given 20 grams r.s. – which however nicely supports tangerine and apple fruit that lead to a lusciously juicy, seemingly salt-, and stone-tinged finish. There is a spicy, musky aura from botrytis but fortunately it doesn’t block the expression of juicy fruit. I suspect this already enticing Riesling will be best enjoyed within the next 6-8 years."
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!