For two days last week Jon, Elisa and Bérenger packed their bags and headed east to the picturesque Alsatian village Ribeauvillé, for their annual visit to Trimbach. Over the two days, the trio tasted more than 30 wines from the classic range all the way up to Grand Cru. Here, Bérenger gives us a sneak peak of what to expect from the 2014 and 2015 vintages.
2014 will be remembered as a cool vintage in Alsace with lots of problems due to the insect Drosophila suzukii (an Asian fruit fly). Some growers in the region lost up to 30% of their crop to the pesky fly, which penetrates the skin of the grape and spoils the fruit. However, 2014 was an excellent vintage for Trimbach, particularly for their Riesling.
The Trimbach wines we tasted showed a focused, linear character, with beautiful balance and purity. They have excellent ageing potenial and their minerality and freshness will help them to develop gracefully over time, although this does mean they’re quite austere to drink now. My favorite wine was the Riesling Selection de Vieilles Vignes – an elegant, vibrant and very stylish wine.
The CFE and and Clos St Hune did not lack richness, but were also marked by great tension throughout and a very inviting saline finish. Although the fruit flies hurt the Gewürztraminer and the Pinot Gris grapes more, the Trimbach wines made from these varietals are marked by elegance, balance and a lovely aromatic range.
2015 could not be more different from its predecessor. This was an easy vintage; warm and sunny, which allowed Trimbach to produce phenomenal wines. The only problem was the severity of the drought and the heat. The region only had rain in June and very high temperatures throughout early July. The rain in August really helped the vines, while September was warm and dry. Because of these extreme summer conditions, the picking timing was key. Alcohol progressed very quickly in September, with potential alcohols growing by as much as two degrees in some vineyards.
The wines produced by Pierre Trimbach reflect the generosity of the summer season, and they’re expressive, ripe and sexy. Jean Trimbach likes to describe the wines from this vintage as “envoutants!” (mesmerising). Our Master of Wine Jon could not disagree with Jean’s comment!
The Riesling wines made from the Grand Cru vineyards, including the CFE or Clos St Hune, are very concentrated indeed with a glycerol feel, which should integrate with time in the bottle, and is counterbalanced by a surprising high level of acidity. The Pinot Gris is showing some tropical exuberance, with some complexed truffley notes for the Reserve Personnelle. The Gewürztraminer is marked by an aromatic intensity, opulence and concentration for the Ribeaupierre cuvée.