Trimbach: Alsace, France
With viticultural origins going back as far as 1626 this family owned estate produces some of the finest dry wines of Alsace. From prime sites based around the villages of Ribeauville and Hunawihr, the Trimbach family own 27 hectares of vineyards including 1.25 ha of Rosacker Grand cru (which produces their most highly famed Clos St Hune Riesling) as well as parcels of Geisberg and Osterberg (blended to make the equally renowned Riesling cuvee Frederic Emile). Geisberg and Osterberg are located on the hill rising up behind the family winery on the edge of Ribeauville where the family moved to in the 1890’s having moved from the smaller neighbouring village of Hunawihr. The label of Clos St Hune depicts the view to the church of Hunawihr from their previous premises in Hunawihr.
The style of wines produced by Trimbach are “harmonious wines that are concentrated, not heavy; fruity, not sweet; bracing rather than fat; polite rather than voluptuous”. Fermentations are cool and slow, the wines removed from their lees and maloloactic fermentation avoided. The wines are filtered fined and bottled early to preserve the freshness of the fruit and dry Rieslings are made with less than 5 gms residual sugar and dry Gewurztraminer less than 10 gms. The wines are then aged in cellar for at least one year and up to 5 years or more for the top wines. Even the richer vendages tardive and SGN wines are made with more restrain than is usual with VT’ Rieslings often carrying 15-40 gms and VT Gewurztraminer around 50 gms and SGN from 100 gms. Trimbach’s wines rightly rank among the worlds very best.
2013 Pinot Blanc stelvin closure
“(70% Auxerrois and 30% Pinot Blanc): Pale straw. Inviting aromas of white flowers, beeswax and delicate spices, the latter no doubt coming from the Auxerrois. Fresh and lively in the mouth, with orchard fruit and chamomile flavors framed and extended by juicy acidity.” Vinous Media April 2015
2014 Riesling stelvin closure
“Bright straw-yellow. Green apple, white flowers and a note of powdered stone on the nose and palate. Juicy, spicy and nicely delineated, finishing with lovely mineral tang and lemony acidity. Perhaps not quite as rich and round as Trimbach’s 2013 Riesling but just as pure. This is made from mainly purchased grapes, but as no Cuvée M was made in 2014, that wine ended up in this Riesling (it fermented to completion and ended up being too dry and austere, so Pierre and Jean Trimbach decided to declassify it).” Vinous Media February 2016
2011 Riesling “Reserve” 750 + 375ml
“Pale straw-green. Lemon and lime on the nose and palate. Fairly glyceral but firm-edged in the mouth, with a minerally quality giving the finish lovely perfumed lift. Made with almost all estate grapes, mainly from the grand cru Rosacker and the Mulforst lieu-dit in Hunawihr, which Pierre Trimbach believes should have been classified as grand cru. 89” Vinous Media November 2012
2012 Pinot Gris “Reserve” 750 + 375ml
“Pale yellow color. Expressive aromas of peach and spring flowers. Concentrated and ripe but with only moderate complexity and depth. This also seems rather sweet to me: I’d like to have seen a firmer acid spine.” Vinous Media April 2015
2012 Pinot Noir “Reserve”
Made in tank with no use of oak used for maturation. Bright vivid medium red colour. Aromas of wild strawberry, cherry and spices lead to a fresh medium weight palate showing lively red fruits and excellent inner-mouth perfume and a very light dusting of tannins to close. A fresh medium bodied style for drinking within the next few years.
2007 Gewurztraminer “Reserve”
“Yellow-straw color. High-pitched, perfumed aromas of lichee, cinnamon and cured meat. More delicate and less fat than the basic bottling, delivering more finesse but less obvious flavor impact in the early going. Still, this is juicy and classic gewurztraminer with a subtle minerality and a bit of finishing tannin. I suspect the mass market will like the regular bottling as much as this one. 88” Vinous Media Nov. 2008
2007 Riesling Frederic Emile 375 + 750ml
This wine is named for Frédéric Emile who became famous for providing a new guarantee of quality and authenticity for Trimbach in 1898. The south and south-east facing Ribeauvillé terroirs Geisberg and Osterberg which overlook the winery have been producing this wine for several generations. The average age of the vines, 45 years, results in limited yields.
“(Trimbach’s 2007 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile – the driest rendition ever of this cuvee, at well under a gram of residual sugar, yet with nearly eight grams acidity – can definitely use the time it will receive in bottle before being released in late 2011 or early 2012! If this year’s reserve Riesling flirted with austerity, the Frederic Emile risks severity. That said, its arrow-like penetration and sharpness; its adamant stoniness; and its citrus zest and cherry pit bitterness, are allied to formidable density; bracing salinity; deep, marrow-like meatiness; a subtle suggestion of textural creaminess; and an overall impression of exhilarating, vibrant refreshment. 92” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com April 2010
2009 Riesling Frederic Emile 1500ml (375 + 750ml to arrive later in the year)
“Citrus zest, fruit pit, huckleberry, and white pepper lend Trimbach’s 2009 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile an aromatic piquancy and tactile bite that – allied to an oily texture – might pull a bit too much in a bitter direction were it not for a satisfying and far from vintage-typical abundance of exuberantly juicy lime, tangerine, and kiwi. A high-toned aura of pit fruit distillate hovers over the entire performance. Crushed stone and alkaline mineral notes add depth to an invigoratingly and tenaciously lingering finish. This ought to perform admirably in the classic Frederic Emile role for at least 12-15 years. (Incidentally, it’s bone dry, at 13.5% alcohol.). 92”David Schildknecht erobertparker.com May 2011
2009 Riesling Clos St Hune
The average age of the vines in their “Clos St Hune” is about 50 years with the oldest vines being 70 yo. Just released. “Carrying 14% alcohol with negligible residual sugar, Trimbach’s 2009 Riesling Clos Ste-Hune leads with high-toned pear, kirsch, and almost bitingly piquant holly berry distillates. Huckleberry, holly, and fruit pit bitterness are well woven into a tight-grained, seamless fabric of fresh white peach, with further chalky and alkaline accents. The finish is a veritable rolling block of mineral and fruit distillate, boasting energy and grip, if also a bit of heat. I suspect that the Frederic Emile will retain an edge in elegance over this, which I would drink on the early side for a Ste-Hune, say over the next 10-12 years. 91” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com May 2011
2011 Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle
“Truffled foie gras in the glass mingles with intimations of peach and citrus in anticipation of precisely the mingling of decadent richness and lusciously bright fruit that follows on a firm but polished palate. Juicy pear and subtly smoky, bitter-sweet nut oils add allure to a long, interactively complex finish. Look for this beauty – when we can finally purchase it in another three years – to perform superbly through at least 2025. 93” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com August 2014
2007 Gewurztraminer ‘Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre’
Produced from old vines from the former wine estate of the Lords of Ribeaupierre in Grand cru Osterberg, the grapes are selected and harvested at the peak of their ripeness. It is a wine with flowery and spicy aromas and a dry personality, and yet so rich and so fruity that it almost hints at sweetness … a mere illusion.
“The Trimbach 2007 Gewurztraminer Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre – like the corresponding “Reserve” bottling – displays a surprising and delightful array of stimulating nuances that can only be termed “mineral.” Here, though, those characteristics manifest themselves already in the nose, along with classic rose petal, brown spices, caraway, and smoked meat. A malted, nutty richness – like the saline, alkaline, and stony elements – give this a real sense of depth to match its creamy richness of texture, while bittersweet floral perfume wafts through to a remarkably buoyant and (despite 15 grams residual sugar) dry-tasting finish. This beauty should be worth following for a quarter century, and will doubtless taste even more impressive when it is released in a couple of years. 93” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com Apr. ‘10
2008 Riesling Clos St Hune for release in 2016
“Bright pale yellow with a green tinge. Wonderfully subtle nose hints at lime oil, quinine, white flowers and crushed stone; an essence of the calcaire-rich grand cru Rosacker. Densely packed and tightly coiled, with superb cut and penetrating character but at the same time an ineffable delicacy. Bracing acidity gives the finish outstanding energy and lift. As insinuating on the back end as it is on the nose, showing building flavors of crushed stone, oyster shell and ginger. An infant with 25 years of life ahead of it. 94+” Vinous Media Nov. 2010
“Vendanges Tardives and Selection Grains Nobles” wines
2008 Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardive
“The 2008 Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive is, at 60 grams residual sugar, unabashedly and for a Trimbach V.T. surprisingly sweet. But then, it had already reached 13.7% alcohol. A remarkable nose – vegetarians beware! – suggests smoked pork, sauteed veal sweetbreads, and truffle-studded foie gras, and the palate is just as sinfully rich as the nose implies, encompassing as well a honeyed intensity of quince and mirabelle preserves; white Burgundy-like toasted brioche; and hints of brown spices. This is a meal unto itself, and for all of its amplitude reveals a sense of buoyancy. But it will take many years for the sense of sweetness to significantly back-off. One could certainly plan on following this for a quarter century. 93” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com May 2011
2007 Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardive
A very fresh and intense V.T. containing 72 grams residual sugar. “The Trimbach 2007 Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive smells of marzipan, purple plum preserves, litchi, smoked meat, musk, and macaroon. Rich and oily – like a gelee of Gewurz – it loads the palate with the taste-able side of the aforementioned aromatic cast, along with low-toned suggestions of toasted nuts, brown spices, dark honey, cocoa powder, and game pate that contribute to a reverberating chordal finish. This will not only be worth following for 25 or more years, its complexity and richness will also outlast its moderate youthful sweetness. 94” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com Apr ‘10
2002 Riesling Vendanges Tardive
An outstandingly fresh, elegant and perfectly balanced Vendanges Tardive containing 40 grams residual sugar. “Pineapple, honey, and spiced crabapple aromas rise from the Trimbach 2002 Riesling Vendange Tardive. Improbably bracing and refreshing for the genre, this saturates the palate with pineapple, honey, and crabapple, leading to a lip-smacking finish in which more than thirty grams of residual sugar barely make the wine taste sweet. Seldom does a vendange tardive taste this dry or refreshing. There might well be nuances to come here, but at the very least this wine’s energy and primary fruit intensity won’t fade for more than a decade. The botrytis that was here did its noble work and departed without leaving mundane traces. 92” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com Feb. 2008
2007 Gewurztraminer Hors Choix SGN
“The 2007 Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles Hors Choix represents a cuvee designation that the Trimbachs also utilized in 1989 and 2000 for wine of near Esszencia-like richness. Essence of rose petal along with mirabelle preserves, mint candy, and brown spices on the nose are joined on a thickly-rich palate by honey, chocolate, and white raisin. Yet for all of its richness and gaudy, candied set of flavors, this preserves a juicy sense of leavening and refreshment in a finish of extraordinary persistence, its sweetness not in the least cloying. This should be a 50 year wine. 96” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com April 2010
2001 Riesling Frederic Emile SGN
“This 2001 Riesling Frederic Emile Selection de Grains Nobles was harvested during the last possible days (before heavy rain) in early November. Apple jelly and plum preserve, honey and almost Gewurztraminer-like brown spices inform the nose. Surprisingly fat and broad on the palate for a Riesling, its ample acidity hidden, and with enormous concentration of baked apple, plum paste, malt, brown spices, and honey that never threatens to turn cloying or heavy. It is probably hiding more than it is revealing today. Only 1,800 bottles were produced, and hopefully few will be opened before 2020. The Geisberg is seldom conducive to noble rot due to its ventilation, but in both 2000 and 2001 it was possible to pick S.G.N. 94” David Schildknecht erobertparker.com Feb. 2008
“(made from the third of three passes through Trimbach’s holding in the grand cru Geisberg, on November 5) Pale medium-gold color. Exotic yellow fruits, roasted pineapple and white raisin on the nose. Hugely sweet but sappy, pure and focused. A large-scaled fruit bomb, with penetrating spice and caraway seed notes and electric acidity. Not at all overly sweet at 74 grams/liter residual sugar. A brilliant example of the ineffably pure botrytis of this vintage: even at SGN ripeness, this is still clearly identifiable as riesling. In the past couple of decades, this wine has been made only in 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2001. There’s always a breeze coming through the deep valley of Aubeure, notes Pierre, so it’s rare that any kind of rot takes root on this fruit. 96+” Vinous Media November 2003