Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vineyard Walk, Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Künstler – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Wine Tasting with Stefan Traub at Weingut Künstler in Hochheim

While I were drinking wine for dinner at home with my parents, I got serious about wine, when I studied and taught at the University of Mainz in Mainz between 1973 and 1983. I was joined on that path by my then girlfriend and later wife Annette, who I met and got married to in Mainz.

Picture: Gunter Künstler and Annette Schiller in Wiesbaden

Picture: Gunter Künstler and Christian Schiller in Hattenheim

Picture: The Late Franz Künstler and Annette Schiller in Hochheim

Hochheim, where Weingut Franz Künstler is based, is very close to Mainz and my wife and I developed a special relationship with the winemakers of Hochheim, when we lived in Mainz. That was boosted by the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim – a wine brotherhood – whose founding members Franz Künstler, my wife and I are.

Against this background, the visit of Weingut Künstler in Hochheim during the Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014) was a very special one. Gunter Künstler, who currently runs and owns Weingut Künstler, was not around but in Berlin at a major VDP event.

We were ably hosted by Stefan Traub and we met winemaker Rolf Schlegel in the vineyard during our vineyard visit.

We started out with a walk in the vineyard, just across the street of the Künstler Estate. Stefan then showed us around in the winery, where they were just bottling. The visit ended with an amazing tasting of the Künstler wines.


Hochheim is at the eastern edge of the Rheingau, well know around the world for its Riesling wines. Moving from Hochheim to the west, the fairly flat, dimpled landscape evolves into progressively steep slopes. It is a quietly beautiful region, rich in tradition. Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for Hochheim's wines contributed to their popularity in England, where they, and ultimately, Rhine wines in general, were referred to as Hock.

The third President of the USA - and notable bon viveur - Thomas Jefferson visited the Rheingau in 1788 and wrote that the wine of the "Abbaye of Johnsberg is the best made on the Rhine without comparison … That of the year 1775 is the best." He also referred to the Rheingau’s Riesling as the "small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim". Impressed by the quality of the Rheingau Riesling wines, he bought 100 grapevines in Hochheim to take back to his estate in Virginia.

Pictures: Vineyard Tour

Weingut Franz Künstler

Weingut Franz Künstler is one of Germany’s world class wine producers. It has 5 F’s (out of 5) in the Feinschmecker WeinGuide ranking. The estate is currently owned and run by Gunter Künstler, who took over from his father Franz a number of years ago. Basically, until the late 1980s Franz was in charge and from the early 1990s on, the Künstler wines were made by Gunter. Before founding his own winery in 1965, Franz Künstler worked for other wineries in Hochheim for 15 years.

The wine growing tradition of the Künstler family can be traced back to Southern Moravia in 1648. After the Second World War, the Künstlers had to leave their home in what is now the Czech Republic and the head of the family, Franz Künstler, laid the foundations in Hochheim for what was to become one of the most successful family businesses in the Rheingau.

Pictures: Cellar Tour

I remember very well the small row house in Hochheim that was the initial home of the Kuenstler winery. And I remember very well the wonderful tastings we had at the Kuenstler estate. All my life I have been buying Künstler wines and there is quite a number of Künstler bottles in my wine cellar in McLean, Virginia.

Gunter Künstler bought the Geheimrat Aschrott'sche Erben wine estate in Hochheim in 1996 and in doing so acquired a major share in the very best vineyard locations in Hochheim (12 hectares). A few years ago, as another giant leap, the Künstler estate moved into the former Burgeff Sektkellerei, just at the entrance of Hochheim, when you come from Mainz. It is very impressive.

Most recently, Gunter Künstler started a cooperation with a winemaker in Rüdesheim and began to offer wines from vineyards in Rüdesheim. This cooperation, however, is coming to an end.

The vineyard area totals 40 hectares in the Domdechaney, Herrnberg, Hölle, Kirchenstück, Reichestal, Stein and Stielweg (Hochheim) as well as Weiß Erd (Kostheim), excluding vineyards in Rüdesheim. Riesling accounts for the bulk of it (33 hectares) but there is also Spätburgunder, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Winemaking: Gunter Künstler, Rolf Schregel
Marketing: Gregor Breuer, Monika Künstler, Stefan Traub
Production: 20000 cases

Pictures: Wine Tasting

The Wines we Tasted

In the USA, Gunter Künstler just changed the importer (I reported about this here: ) and is now part of the Terry Theise/Michael Skurnik Portfolio. We tasted the wines on the list below ... and a few more.

2009 Riesling Sekt brut
2013 Hochheimer Stilweg Riesling Alte Reben trocken
2012 Rüdesheimer Bischofsberg Riesling Alte Reben trocken
2013 Kostheimer Weiss Erd Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage GG trocken
2013 Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage GG trocken
2008 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Erstes Gewächs trocken
2012 Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling VDP.Grosse Lage GG trocken
2013 Grüner Veltliner trocken
2012 Chardonnay Kalkstein
2013 Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spätlese

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Kloster Pforta: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Managing Director Christian Kloss – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Winzerhof Gussek in the Saale Unstrut Region: Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour and Tasting with Owner and Winemaker André Gussek – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Tour and Tasting at the Historic Weingut Juliusspital in Würzburg, Franken – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Bickel-Stumpf in Franken: Vineyard Walk and Wine Tasting with Reimund Stumpf, Matthias Stumpf and Melanie Stumpf-Kröger - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Kiedrich: Visit of the Basilica of Saint Valentine and of Weingut Robert Weil - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau: Tour and Wine Tasting - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wining in the Steinberg Vineyard – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Winzerhof Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Kühling-Gillot in Bodenheim: Kühling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Künstler)

Weingut Franz Kuenstler, Hochheim, Rheingau, Joins Terry Theise Portfolio, USA/Germany

Germany's Top 18 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2013

Kuenstler, Meyer-Naekel, Wirsching – Winemaker Dinner at Kronenschlösschen in Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Franz Kuenstler, Founder of the Renown Franz Kuenstler Estate in Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany, dies at Age 84

Franz Kuenstler, the founder of the Weingut Franz Kuenstler, was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Germany

Wine Video: German Top Wine Maker Gunter Kuenstler interviewed by Hendrik Thoma

World Class Wines in Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany - Weingut Kuenstler

Five Hochheim (Rheingau) Winemakers Presented their Vintage 2011 Wines in Hochheim, Germany

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winemaker Dinner with Vincent Bottreau and his Maison Bouchard Aîne & Fils Wines at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, Virginia, USA

Picture: Winemaker Vincent Bottreau, Maison Bouchard Aîne & Fils, Annette Schiller, ombiasyOR and WineTours, and Sommelier Hilaire L. Creamer, L'Auberge Chez François

A few weeks ago, Annette Schiller and I enjoyed a massive Bouchard Père et Fils wine tasting, organized by Panos Kakaviatos at Ripple in Washington DC. I have provided a write-up of the event, with extensive tasting notes by Annette Schiller, here:
Vintage 2012 Bouchard Père et Fils Tasting at Ripple in Washington DC, USA – With Tasting Notes by Annette Schiller

This time, it was again a Bouchard tasting. However, we did not taste as many wines and they were not Bouchard Père et Fils wines, but wines of Bouchard Aîne & Fils. The 2 Bourgogne wine producers Bouchard Père et Fils and Bouchard Aîne & Fils have similar names and the same roots, but are now completely independent of each other.

Further, this time, the tasting was part of a delicious, elaborate dinner prepared by the team of Chef Jacques E. Haeringer and his team at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls. Chef Jacques was on vacation, but the dinner was nevertheless excellent. Typical, classic French food at a very high level.

Also, this time, the winemaker was present and talked extensively about the Bouchard Aîne & Fils wines he presented.

Again, Annette Schiller, ombiasyPR and WineTours, provided the tasting notes for this posting and I did the rest.

Bouchard Aîne & Fils

Bouchard Aîne & Fils is a large negociant, based in Beaune, in the Côte de Beaune. Bouchard Aîne & Fils and Bouchard Père et Fils have the same roots: the company was established as a cloth merchant by Michel Bouchard in Volnay in 1731. Starting in 1746, his son Joseph Bouchard began selling wines and acquiring vineyards.

Pictures: Winemaker Dinner with Vincent Bottreau and his Maison Bouchard Aîne & Fils Wines at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, USA

The split-up came in the early 1800s, when Antoine-Philibert-Joseph Bouchard broke up with his oldest son, Joseph-Théodore. In 1813, Joseph-Théodore Bouchard married the daughter of Simon Maire, who was a negociant in Beaune. The Bouchard family affaires were divided in 1828, with Joseph-Théodore Bouchard talking over one part (and calling it Bouchard Aîne & Fils) and his brother Bernard Bouchard talking over the other part (and keeping the name Bouchard Père et Fils).

While the latter over time assembled one of the finest portfolios in Bourgogne of 130 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Côte d’Or – 12 of them classified as Grand Cru and 74 as Premier Cru, including: Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Clos Vougeot, Chambertin, Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus, Volnay Caillerets, Meursault Perrières - Bouchard Aîne & Fils always remained a negociant.

In 1993, Bouchard Aîne & Fils was sold to the Boisset family. In 1995, Bouchard Père et Fils was sold to Joseph Henriot in the Champagne.

Bouchard Aîné & Fils in Beaune

The history of Bouchard Aîné & Fils in Beaune is inextricably linked with that of Burgundy wine and the town of Beaune itself. The Hôtel du Conseiller du Roy, built in 1743, is a jewel of Burgundian architecture and houses the headquarters of Bouchard Aîné & Fils. It is located just a five-minute walk from the town’s famous Hospices de Beaune. At the time it was built, it was the town’s first residence to be built outside the city walls. The Hôtel du Conseiller du Roy opens the doors to its cellars for one-of-a-kind tours and tastings, known as the Tour of the Five Senses.

Picture:  Hôtel du Conseiller du Roy


Bouchard Aîné & Fils is part of the Boisset portfolio. The Boisset family business (Boisset - La Famille des Grands Vins), based at Nuits-Saint-Georges in Burgundy, is France's third largest wine group, and Burgundy's largest wine producer. In the US (Boisset Family Estates), it is one of the top 25 wine producers.

Jean-Charles Boisset is President of Boisset - La Famille des Grands Vins. Decanter magazine has recognized Jean-Charles #24 among its "Power List" of the most influential people in the world of wine. Jean-Charles Boisset is married to Gina Gallo, granddaughter of Julio Gallo of E & J Gallo Winery, America’s largest winery, and the world's second-biggest wine company after Constellation. They have 2 children (twin girls).

The Boisset Family Estates in the US include: Raymond Vineyards, Napa Valley, DeLoach Vineyards, Russian River Valley, Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma.

The Boisset Family Estates in France include: Domaine de la Vougeraie, Premeaux-Prissey, Jean-Claude Boisset, Nuits-St.-Georges, Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Beaune, J. Moreau & Fils, Chablis, Mommessin, Beaujolais, Louis Bouillot, Nuits-St.-Georges, Ropiteau, Meursault, Fortant, Sete.

Winemaker Vincent Bottreau: From Technology to Oenology!

In the 18th century, the Bouchard family moved from the world of fabric to the world of wine. In the 21st century, the Bouchard Aîné & Fils has a winemaker who moved from the digital world to the universe of all things wine.

Pictures: Vincent Bottreau, Annette Schiller and Christian G.E. Schiller

A few years ago, Vincent Bottreau made his own career shift into vine and wine. This former telecommunications engineer who registered 15 patents and had several scientific papers published, had always been passionate about Bourgogne wines, and proved this when he obtained his a BPREA qualification in wine and oenology in Beaune, followed by a DNO from Dijon, coming top of his class in 2013. After experiencing several vintages in South Africa as well as in a range of reputed Burgundy estates, Vincent, who favors balanced, forthright wines, took over the reins at Bouchard Aîné & Fils in 2014.

The Dinner

Chef Jacques' Hors d’oeuvres
Assorted Housemade Patés, Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Parmesan Puff Pastry Straws
Bouchard Pouilly Fuisse 2010

Napoléon of Virginia Smoked Trout
Bouchard Savigny Les Beaune Blanc 2012

Rockfish Mousseline with Salmon Caviar, Quenelle of Carrot Purée and Broccoli Florets with Chardonnay Reduction
Bouchard Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Macharelles 2012

Grilled Medallion of Ahi Tuna with Fried Leeks, Green Peppercorn Sauce
Bouchard Fixin "La Maziere" 2012
Bouchard Pommard 1er Cru Les Charmots 2012

Classic Baked Alaska

Tasting Notes (Annette Schiller, ombiasyPR and WineTours)

The tasting notes were provided by Annette Schiller from ombiasyPR and WineTours. The ombiasyPR and WineTours 2015 program includes 3 tours to Germany (East, South, North) and 1 tour to Bordeaux. See: 4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South, Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

The 2016 program also includes a wine tour to Bourgogne. In fact, we will tour Bourgogne in 2015, but with a specific group (Wine Brotherhood Hochheim). This tour will be repeated in 2016 and open for anybody, who would like to come along.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Vincent Bottreau

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Pouilly-Fussé 2010

Very aromatic on the nose, floral notes paired with mineral notes. This is due to the fact that the clone of the Chardonnay grapes used for this wine differs somewhat from the rest: old vines with a hint of Muscat, which explains the pronounced aromatic on the nose. Despite being aged in 20% new oak barrels, no overbearing oak on the nose and the palate. This five year old wine came together beautifully. A full-bodied, elegant, harmonious wine with a wonderful finish.

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Savigny Les Beaune Blanc 2012

A very nice, fruity Chardonnay with hints of lemon, herbs on the nose, yet still restraint. Will need some more time to fully open up. The fermentation started out in stainless steel, then aged for 10 months in 15% new oak. Still a bit oaky on the nose, but on the palate aromas, oak, minerality, and acidity were already nicely integrated. The finish was moderately long.

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Macharelles 2012

A beautiful nose of white fruit, floral notes with a hint of pastries. This wine was in French oak -25% new oak- for 16 months. There was no stirring on the lease to avoid heaviness. The oak is moderate on the nose as well as on the palate. A beautiful, creamy Chardonnay with a lot of finesse and a very good finish.

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Bouchard Fixin “La Maziere” 2012

A very nice nose of dark berry fruits, cherry, a bit of wet leaves, fur. Maceration in large wooden vats as long as possible, starting out with cold maceration to give the juice some nice color, temperature was gradually increased to start the fermentation, after first fermentation a pneumatic press was used to remove the skins, followed by malolactic fermentation and ageing for 10 months in French oak with 25% new oak. On the palate the wine was dense, with pronounces tannins and acidity that were already nicely balanced.

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Bouchard Pommard 1er Cru Les Charmots 2012

On the nose the wine showed the typical Pinot-Noir characteristics: black ripe fruit, cherry, a bit of spice, some leather. The vinification process was similar to the previous wine. Fermentation took 22 days and the wine aged for 12 months in French oak with 40% new oak. However the terroir differs from the previous wine and the vines are much older, which lets the wine develop in a different direction. A strong backbone with pronounced tannins, well integrated fruit and acidity gave the wine a velvety, rich mouthfeel. The finish was long and delicious.

Jacques E. Haeringer and L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, Virginia

L’Auberge Chez Francois is an extraordinary place in the hills outside of Washington DC. It was founded by François Haeringer in the heart of Washington DC in 1954. Today, L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls is much the same as when François first opened it - family-run, with Jacques’ brother Paul as the restaurant's sommelier and Jacques as Chef de Cuisine. L'Auberge Chez François is on the top 50 list of "Best Overall" Restaurants in US, as voted by users of the Open Table reservation system.

Picture: Winemaker Dinner with Vincent Bottreau and his Maison Bouchard Aîne & Fils Wines at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Chef Jacques at an earlier Event

Chef Jacques is one of America’s most respected culinary personalities. His menus feature classic Alsatian and French cuisine reinterpreted for American palates. While his father Francois used to say that the chef has to stay in the kitchen, Chef Jacques is very present in the restaurant. He clearly enjoys talking about food and to communicate with his guests. He is great fun to listen to. No wonder that Jacques can be found sharing his cooking secrets on radio and television programs across the country.

Jacques is also a great writer and his articles have been featured in such journals as Gourmet, Wine and Spirits,and Cosmopolitan. Finally, Jacques is the author of “Two for Tonight,” a collection of recipes that inspire romance through food and togetherness, and the “Chez François Cookbook,” the bible of classic Alsatian cuisine featuring some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013  

Leo Hillinger Wines and Alsatian Food with Hillinger’s Michael Hoeffken and Chef Jacques E. Haeringer at L’Auberge Chez François in Virginia, USA

Domaine Weinbach Wines and Alsatian Food with Winemaker Catherine Faller, Alsace, and Chef Jacques E. Haeringer, Virginia

Anton Bauer and his Wines and Chef Jacques E. Haeringer and his Food at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, Virginia, with Klaus Wittauer of Kwselection, USA

Vintage 2012 Bouchard Père et Fils Tasting at Ripple in Washington DC, USA – With Tasting Notes by Annette Schiller 

Friday, February 27, 2015

At Maison Trimbach in Alsace with Hubert Trimbach – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Picture: Annette and Christian Schiller and Steven Kent with Hubert Trimbach at Maison Trimbach

The Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014) included a visit of a French winery - Maison Trimbach in Alsace. When you look at the map, Alsace is just opposite of the Baden region on the other side of the Rhein Valley and below (south of) the Pfalz region, which is also on the western side of the Rhein Valley. So, being in the south of Baden with a number of wineries in the Pfalz as next leg of the trip, Annette had included a night in Alsace coupled with a visit of Domaine Trimbach and a dinner in an Alsatian brasserie. Good thought!

Picture: Arriving at Maison Trimbach

It was very interesting to taste the Trimbach wines and compare them with the German wines. Even wines of the same grape variety are distinctively different. This is due to different terroir but in a large part to the different philosophy of winemaking in Germany and Alsace. In a nutshell: the modern German winemaking aims at elegant, fruity, crisp, perfectly balanced wines whereas the Alsatian winemaker wants body, boldness and strength for the wines to accompany the hearty Alsatian food.

This “detour” gave us the opportunity to explore the small, picture-perfect, medieval Alsatian village of Ribeauvillé. We had a memorable dinner at a local brasserie, eating typical Alsatian food and drinking Alsatian wines.

Jean, Pierre, Anne and Hubert Trimbach

Trimbach is one of the big names of Alsace. Outside of Alsace many people associate Domaine Trimbach with the face of Jean Trimbach. Because it is him, who tours the world and promotes and sells the Trimbach wines around the world (with 85% of Maison Trimbach wines exported), while his brother Pierre Trimbach stays in Ribeauvillé in the winery and looks after the winemaking. So, I have enjoyed a number of evening with Jean Trimbach and his wines in Washington DC, as well as a tour and tasting at the winery in Ribeauvillé with Jean Trimbach.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Annette Schiller with Jean Trimbach at Open Kitchen, Virginia, USA

This time, Jean was travelling as was his nice, Anne Trimbach, Pierre’s daughter, the oldest member of the 13th generation, who is working alongside Jean and also travelling around the world, and we were hosted by a very competent Domaine Trimbach employee. But Jean’s uncle, Hubert Trimbach from the 11th generation, dropped by and we had a chance to chat with one of the Trimbach family members. His brother, Bernard Trimbach, father of Jean and Pierre Trimbach retired in 2008, when Anne Trimbach joined the team.

Maison Trimbach

Maison Trimbach’s wine-making history goes back to 1626, when Jean Trimbach was recognized as a citizen of Riquewihr in Alsace. From then on, the Maison Trimbach became renowned for its wines. However, it was not until the turn to the 20th century, when, under the leadership of Frédéric-Emile Trimbach, business really took off. Since then, Maison Trimbach has remained a family run business, based in Ribeauville, just a few miles north of Riquewihr, were it all began almost 400 years ago.

Maison Trimbach is very export-oriented with more than 85 percent of the production being exported. It is both a domaine and negociant, thus it produces wine sourced from own vineyards (40 hectares) and from lease contracts (60 hectares).

Winemaking Philosophy

Maison Trimbach's vineyards are all situated around Ribeauvillé, where the soils are mainly limestone. The best sites include the Grands Crus Rosacker, Osterberg and Geisberg, but as indicated above, Maison Trimbach is one of the winemakers in Alsace that are staying away from the Grand Cru AOC system, while Maison Trimbach’s Clos Ste Hune, a Grand Cru, is arguably the finest wine of Alsace. In terms of grape varieties, the emphasis is on Riesling, but Maison Trimbach also grows all other classic Alsatian grape varieties, such as Gewuerztraminer.

Pictures: Cellar Tour at Maison Trimbach

Jean explains Trimbach’s wine making philosophy: “In the vineyard, the vines are cared for with a restricted approach to the use of chemicals, including insecticides and fertilizers. We ferment at 20 to 21 degrees Celsius in stainless steel tanks and large, wooden barrels. It does not really matter, if a wine is fermented in a tank or a barrel. It is more a question of fitting our needs with what is available. The barrels are smaller than the tanks and therefore the wines we produce in smaller quantities tend to end up in the wooden barrels. We never use new oak. We never do malolactic fermentation. As a rule, we bottle very early to preserve the freshness and the fruitiness. This is what Alsace is all about. The wine then matures in the bottle. The same principle as vintage port. We release wine often only 5 years later. Sometimes we wait up to 10 years.”

The Trimbachs let their wines age in the bottles in the cellar during several years before they release them on the market, especially the grand cru wines, such as the Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile. Wines are tasted frequently and released when deemed appropriate.

The Maison Trimbach Wine Portfolio

The Trimbach wines come in 4 quality groups: (i) the Classic range, (ii) the Reserve range, (iii) the Reserve Personelle range and (iv) the Prestige and Collection wines.

Trimbach Classic: This is the Trimbach entry level range. These wines represent the traditional, dry, crisp Alsace white wine style and come as Trimbach Pinot Blanc, Silvaner, Gewuerztraminer and Riesling.

Trimbach Reserve: The Reserve wines are made from sections with mostly old vines. These are more complex wines than the Classic wines and can age longer. The Reserve wines come as Muscat, Riesling, Gewuerztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Maison Trimbach is not particularly known for red wines, but they do produce a Pinot Noir Reserve as well as a Pinot Noir Reserve Personelle.

Pictures: Tasting Trimbach Wines with Hubert Trimbach

Trimbach Reserve Personelle: The wines of the Reserve Personelle range are from the best terroirs of the estate and not produced every year. These wines will keep for years. There are 3 Reserve Personelle wines: (1) the Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile, (2) the Gewurztraminer Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre and (3) the Pinot Gris Reserve Personnelle. They are clearly recognizable because of their golden labels. The Cuvée Frédéric Emile is probably the best known Trimbach wine. It is one of the finest wines of Alsace, if not one of the world's greatest white wines.

Trimbach Prestige and Collection Wines: This group comprises (1) the Riesling "Clos Sainte Hune", (2) the Vendanges Tardives wines and (3) the Sélection de Grains Nobles wines, made from Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and Gewuerztraminer. The Clos Sainte Hune is an exceptional terroir, exclusively planted with Riesling, located in the heart of the Grand Cru Rosacker, in Hunawihr. This Clos totals 1.67 hectares and has been in the propriety of the Trimbach family for more than 200 years.

The Wines we Tasted

2013 Muscat Reserve Euro 12,40
2012 Riesling Classic Euro 11,40
2011 Riesling Reserve Euro 15,05
2011 Riesling Reserve Vieilles Vignes Euro 17,25
2009 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Euro 41,00

2009 Riesling Clos Sainte Hune Euro 133,00
2008 Pinot Gris Reserve Pesonnelle Euro 24,25
2007 Gewürztraminer Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre Euro 30,65
2007 Gewürtztraminer Vendage Tardive Euro 34,30
2007 Gewürtztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Hors choix Euro 113,00


Alsace is one of the several world class French wine regions, which produces many excellent still and sparkling, red and white wines, but above all it is highly appreciated for its unoaked, dry and crisp white wines. They tend to be different from those in the other parts of France: Higher in acidity, sometimes really sour, but always a pleasant experience to have them in the glass. And they go very well with the Alsatian food, which is also unique in France. The famous choucroute you find only there in France. But of course, you find it also in neighboring Germany, for example in Frankfurt am Main. Compared with Germany, which also is famous for its world class dry wines, Alsace wines tend to be drier, more full-bodied and higher in alcohol. Finally, sweeter white wines and red wines play only a minor role in Alsace, but they have a very good sparkling wine, the Cremant d’Alsace.

Pictures: Arriving at our Hotel in the Center of Ribeauvillé

Alsace sits in the northeast corner of France, sheltered by the Vosges mountains to the west and hard against the German border to the east. The vineyards reach from around Wissembourg in the north to Mulhouse, 70 miles south. Some 12 million cases are produced annually from 32,000 acres of vineyards.

Alsace is a fascinating amalgam of the German and French. The end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648 gave Alsace to France. In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was taken by Germany. After World War I, it was once more part of France — until 1940, when Germany reclaimed it. With the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Alsace became French yet again — and so it has remained. Wine production in Alsace traces its beginnings to the early centuries of the Roman Empire, when the Romans conquered Alsace and introduced wine.

Pictures: Strolling through Ribeauvillé with Ellen Kirch

One of the most intriguing characteristics of Alsace wines is that they are bottled under their varietal names, unlike virtually all other French wines. Four grape varieties are considered to be the best:(i) Riesling – like in Germany, the most celebrated grape; (ii) Muscat – often used to produce sweet wines in France, the Alsace version is bone-dry; (iii) Pinot Gris and (iv) Gewurztraminer – Alsace's signature grape. Three other white grape varieties are also grown: (i) Sylvaner – A high-yielding grape, producing a refreshing wine, often used for blends, (ii) Pinot Blanc and (iii) Chardonnay – used only for sparkling wine. In addition, Alsace does have a little red wine made from the Burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. The Alsatian red wines tend to be quite lightweight, but can be delicious and interesting.

Dinner in Alsace

We ended the day witth a relxed dinner at a local brasserie.

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Domaine Trimbach)

A Feast with Jean Trimbach, Maison Trimbach in Alsace, and Chef Bart M. Vandaele at B Too in Washington DC, USA/France (2014)

Back in the Washington DC Area: Jean Trimbach Presented Maison Trimbach Wines at a Winemaker Dinner at Open Kitchen, USA (2013)

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace (2011)

With Jean Trimbach from Domaine Trimbach, Alsace, at Bart M. Vandaele’s Belga Café in Washington DC (2011)

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC (2010)

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013 

In the Vineyard and the Wine Cellar (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting Luncheon at 1 Star Michelin Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier in Baden, with Winemaker Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Zähringer in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Winemaker Paulin Köpfer – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombasy (2014)

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden: Tour and Tasting with Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014), Germany

Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Fritz Keller – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, with Weingut Franz Keller Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Weingut Dr. Heger in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tours by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)