Thursday, December 11, 2008

Albert Mann Tasting At Giaconda (Dec. 11, 2008)

I love my kids, I really do, but with my wife away on vacation, my two older girls couldn't handle my four year old son's consternation at my being away for the evening and I had to leave the tasting in the middle. Many thanks for Anat Sela and Rafaella Ronen of Giaconda for letting me have a quick go at one of the latter bottles of the tasting as well as a doggie bag. The tasting was enlightening and rewarding and finessed one personal change of opinion, as can be seen below.

Albert Mann is a small, artisan winery from Alsace and you can read about them here. I will focus on the wines, as usual. Those I managed to taste, that is.

Grand Cru Schlossberg, Riesling, 2007

The nose was somehow reminiscent of Champagne, what with the more conventional Riesling aromas of apples being laced with orange blossom. The palate was dry, crisp and minerally, with a spicy finish, and while it didn't show any great complexity in its present incarnation, it packed a lot of flavors on a frame that felt deceptively light. In short, an elegant creature and I greatly enjoyed it. 189 NIS.

Rosenberg, Riesling, 2007

This wine contained more residual sugar, perhaps to make up for a relative lack of breed of this non-GC vineyard. It continued the stylistic direction of the Schlossberg, albeit in a sweeter vein and a touch of funk on the nose. It was more straightforward and more obviously impressive but didn't show the Schollssberg's class. Nor it's acidity. 166.5 NIS

Rosenberg, Riesling, 2001

This wine went through two distinct phases. At first, it gushed forth with petrol aromas that overwhelmed all other nuances. It was nice, because petrol is always nice, but it felt too obvious and at any rate, it greatly overshadowed the palate. In the wine's latter stage, the nose revealed some minerals, parsley and dill. The palate fleshed out as well but at the end of the day, it still left me wanting more. Not for sale.

Alright, so the Rosenberg 2001 proved to be only an intellectual interest. The next flight, however, was a different matter. As I've said before, I'm not a Pinot Gris fan. I liked the variety a few years ago, especially for the saline notes it can sometimes have but I lost interest after a few disappointments. The Pinot Gris flight of the tasting was the first time in a long time I've enjoyed Pinot Gris.

Grand Cru Hengst, Pinot Gris, 2005

Alsatian Pinot Gris is not caressing wine. It can have an overbearing personality, but this wine avoided it. It still left me sitting on the fence, mind you, because a certain bitterness on the finish was too much for me. But I enjoyed its heady mix of quince, beeswax and sea air. 193 NIS.

Grand Cru Furstentum, Pinot Gris, 2005

This made me a convert, if only for that one specific wine. In fact, I liked it so much, I even developed a greater appreciation for the Hengst by way of transferance. An utterly fascinating nose, with a unique aromatic signature none 'round the table could pinpoint. I thought it recalled hot springs, though the salinity nods at Xerez as well. An intellectual delight until the fruit asserted itself and then it became a sensual one as well. A structured wine that is already enjoyable, as is obvious from my note, although I'd guess it still has at least 5 years of development. 193 NIS.

Alas, at this point, my little angels at home tolled the midnight bell a couple of hours early.

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