I love Alsace wines, and although I taste plenty, I rarely drink them at home. Why this is, I don’t really know. Is it because of residual sugar? Alcohol? The great rieslings of Alsace are superbly complex and terroir-expressive, and whenever I drink one it makes me wonder why I don’t drink more.
Last night in Portland, Oregon, my friends and I opened a 1998 Riesling Sommerberg L31D from Albert Boxler, which I realized I haven’t tasted for quite a number of years, even though I liked it very much in its youth. “D” stands for Duttenstein, a sub-parcel of the steep, granitic Sommerberg vineyard, and Boxler’s old vines here (50 years at the time) create a densely vivid wine of vendange tardive concentration. At ten years of age, this bottle was an absolute joy to drink, balancing a silky, mature richness against lingering primary flavors of citrus and stone fruit. We also drank a 1998 Tokay Pinot Gris from Roland Schmitt, and while it was delicious, with waxy notes of baked pear and marzipan, it couldn’t quite stand up to the majesty of that Boxler.
I’ll be spending the weekend on the Oregon Coast with a number of my best friends, eating and drinking myself into a stupor. These guys are serious. I should have brought an extra liver.