The botrytis and apricot-scented 2000 Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives has an elegant, medium-bodied character crammed with white peaches. This focused, extremely well-balanced, and silky-textured wine is powerful, yet delicate.
Maison Trimbach is a negociant in Alsace known for Rieslings. It was founded in 1626 by Jean Trimbach, and has been owned and operated by the Trimbach family ever since. The estate owns 63 acres and leases another 140 acres of vineyards, which are planted to 41% Riesling, 33% Gewurztraminer, 15% Pinot Gris and the remainder in Pinot Blanc and Muscat. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that the finest Trimbach wines come from the estate’s 3.2 acre Clos St.-Hune. He calls the wine from there “the quintessential Riesling. It is unquestionably the finest produced in France, and can rival any Riesling produced in the world.”
Alsace in northeastern France is so close to Germany that the wines of Alsace and Germany are often confused. Both are typically sold in distinctive, slim, long-necked bottles, and are made from the same grapes. Alsace has never officially been a part of Germany, though it was occupied by the German military in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wine writer Hugh Johnson has noted that despite German influences, Alsace’s “soul is entirely French. Alsace makes Germanic wines in the French way.” In contrast to German wines, Alsace wines generally are very dry, with a higher alcohol content and riper, more scented fruit. Alsace has 33,000 acres of vineyards, many of them in the picturesque foothills of the Vosges Mountains. The grapes of the region are Sylvaner, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Noir is also grown, though it is mainly used for Rosé wines. Alsace’s most admired wines are its Rieslings, which since 1985 may be designated as Grand Crus. Some 50 vineyards in the region have been classified as Grand Crus, and are allowed to use the appellation on their labels. Unlike all other French winemaking regions, Alsace labels are varietal, meaning that a wine made of Riesling, for example, is called Riesling. Official Alsace appellations include Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines.