Maison F. E. Trimbach, one of the top producers in France’s Alsace region, makes any number of very good wines. They also make one indisputably great wine, which is the family’s Clos Ste. Hune Riesling. The other day I had a chance to taste vintages of Clos Ste. Hune going back to 1975, and even as a jaded wine writer, who tastes a couple of thousand wines a year, it was an extraordinary experience.
The Trimbachs have been making wine since 1626, and Clos Sainte Hune (from a small walled vineyard within the Rosacker grand cru) since 1919. Very few bottles of this remarkable dry Riesling are produced each year; they are very expensive. It’s a deceptive wine—when young, it doesn’t fully reveal its complexity and depth; cellar it, though, and as the years go by, layer after layer of nuance is unlocked. At the recent tasting, Jean Trimbach commented, “These wines are made with no malolactic [fermentation], no oak. In other words, no makeup. If you make it that way, I think Riesling is the best mirror of terroir there is.”
2009 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune ($238) “The year was quite warm, with an August heat wave. We still had beautiful acidity, but it’s a more exuberant and flattering vintage than 2007,” Jean Trimbach said. Green apple and wet granite aromas (it reminded me of hiking in Maine after a rainstorm); flinty, lemon peel flavors. Very young—needs time.