Gewurztraminer SGN Selection de Grains Nobles Fronholz Ostertag Alsace FINE+RARE FRW

2007 Gewurztraminer Fronholz SGN

Domaine Ostertag


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£182.00
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Average rating 94.5

(10% alcohol, 290 g/l r.s. and 5.4 acidity) Pale gold. Pure, high-toned, rot-ennobled aromas of apricot, orange marmalade, pineapple and honey. Wonderfully thick yet tangy on the palate, with rampant, pure botrytis giving the wine superb verve in spite of its extraordinarily chewy texture. More glyceral and saline than the Vignoble d'Epfig SGN, but with a silkier texture and greater complexity and verve that must come from this quartz-rich sandy soil. Although this wine pours as thickly as motor oil, from its palate-saturating, gripping finish I would never have guessed that it's nearly 30% sugar. Nov 2008, www.vinous.com
If you thought that Ostertag’s S.G.N. from Epfig was overwhelmed by its sweetness, you won’t find the analysis of his 2007 Gewurztraminer Fronholz Selection de Grains Nobles much of an inducement and might want to avert your eyes! Here we have nearly 200 grams of residual sugar, yet with scarcely more (and indeed, by botrytized Gewurztraminer standards very little) acidity. Furthermore, the wine’s viscosity borders on the gelatinous and Esszencia-like. But you’d be in for a surprise – and perhaps it is this wine’s sheer extract that makes the difference – because here we have a sense of near-weightless buoyancy, as well as persistent, invigorating salinity, and a welcome freshness to accompany the wine’s nearly endless finish. Litchi, mirabelle preserves, glazed apricot, candied chestnut, and salted caramel are principle themes in a wine of striking refinement whose buttery texture adds to its allure. Don’t get me wrong, this is still enormously sweet, but the fact that it doesn’t taste like treacle is part of its fascination. I would think it capable of remaining rewarding for 50 years, despite its low acidity, and suspect it will display more complexity after a mere couple of decades in bottle.

Andre Ostertag was like most of his region’s best growers very selective about what he chose to bottle in 2006. He is especially enthusiastic about his uncompromisingly intense 2007s and the sense in which the Rieslings resemble a throwback to the moderate must weights and refreshing acidity that was common in Alsace before the string of warm vintages that has been nearly uninterrupted since 1988. I was surprised to find myself as impresses as I was with the 2007 Pinot Gris bottlings here, but Ostertag says it was simply unfair until very recently to compare his results with that grape to those with Riesling, because the vines of the former were too young. They’ve passed 20 years of age now, and that, he opines, is why they can start to show their real potential (and, I would add, stand up to Ostertag’s use of barriques). While I hate to take up space with this matter, readers should be aware that wines from this estate that formerly bore the village name “Epfig” will now merely be coded with the capital letter “E” because of certain limitations that the authorities have now imposed on the use of village designates and the definition of “village level” names. (Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to understand the regulation if I thought it would prove intelligible!) Apr 2010, www.robertparker.com, Drink 2010-2060.

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