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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > FRANCE: Alsace

Winner Details

FRANCE: Alsace

2017 Gold: 3 Silver: 6 Bronze: 2 Commended: 4
2016 Gold: 1 Silver: 0 Bronze: 1 Commended: 2

After a couple of years of ‘meh’, Alsace was back on form in 2017. Eleven medals was a strong showing and, perhaps more to the point, the feedback from the tasters was pretty positive too – particularly for the Rieslings.

It was, perhaps, a shame that no Pinot Gris got beyond Silver, and red submissions (as usual) were conspicuous by their absence from the competition as a whole, so we didn’t quite manage to get a full spread of styles on our Gold List. But two well-priced Rieslings and a Gewürz added a certain pizzazz to our final offering. And as several tasters pointed out, if you’re looking for wines to go with Asian food, this is about as good a place to look as any.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Riesling is difficult to sell. It’s too expensive.’ Andrea Cotichella, Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

‘I loved the Gewürz side of the flight, surprisingly. We have sold it in the past but not currently – with food that rosewater character can start to interfere and it’s not the most popular variety these days.’ James Fryer, Portland Restaurant

‘The Riesling flight was superb. Very classic, traditional styles but racy, vibrant mineral and flinty. Generally, in my opinion, Alsace Riesling is difficult to find at entry level, but this flight proved me wrong.’ Diana Rollan, Hakkassan Group

‘For [Riesling] Gold, you’re looking for purity of expression, not just varietal expression; this is Riesling with a location. The Millennial generation are motivated by experience, and here you can tie a wine to a place and the local culture to create a back story; that shifts their focus away from price.’ Matthew Cocks, WineEd

‘In Alsace, Riesling has a lot of potential for bottle age. [The Sommerberg] was starting to develop the tertiary flavours connected to the terroir and grape, like petroleum and elegant spice, ginger and white pepper. It’s ideal for certain types of dishes that are emphasised with spices and sweetness, such as Asian, Indian. It helps to calm enthusiastic spicing.’ Alessandro de Angelis, Jamavar

 

‘For me, for Riesling, Alsace is the weakest area in the world – too much of that rich honeyed character. But this flight of wines was amazing.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

Award winners

Found 15 wines

France: Alsace

Michel Fonné, Gewurztraminer, Grand Cru Marckrain 2011, Alsace, France

Gold medal winner

Team leader Olivier Marie was impressed with this Gold-winning Gewürztraminer’s ‘great minerality and floral nose with ginger spice and incense, yellow apple and Gala apple on the palate, and beautiful acidity carrying the flavours through’. ‘Luscious, sweet rosewater with dried papaya, mango and jasmine character,’ agreed Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer. WineEd’s Matthew Cocks considered this a ‘cost-effective dessert wine for incremental sales via matched pairings printed on a menu – a good option for a passionfruit soufflé or tart’.

£13.99 Frederic Robinson

GCF Exclusif, Arthur Metz, Michel Léon, Riesling 2015, Alsace, France

Gold medal winner

Adding another Gold to GCF Exclusif’s medal haul, this was ‘fresh and mineral, with grapefruit character and citrus, dry and a little austere on the palate but shows minerality and lime, with a smoky finish’, said Hakkasan Group’s Diana Rollan, while team leader Laurent Richet MS also noted ‘lemon-lime fruit, Granny Smith apples, notes of pineapple and a mineral finish’. Ivan Ruiz of Wright Brothers thought it would match salt-baked sea bream perfectly.

£9.41 HT White & Co

Biecher & Schaal, Riesling, Grand Cru Sommerberg 2015, Alsace, France

Gold medal winner

‘Wow,’ began team leader Laurent Richet MS on encountering this Gold-worthy wine, elaborating: ‘Fantastic balance of fruit and acidity, lovely fruit ripeness of pineapple, golden apples and mango with lemony acidity and a slatey, dry stone finish.’ ‘Ripe peach and exotic fruit, with a smooth, round palate with a touch of honey,’ said Jamavar’s Alessandro de Angelis, while WineEd’s Matthew Cocks considered it best served alongside a pork roast with baked apple and glazed carrots.

£12.25 Bibendum

Michel Fonné, Riesling 2014, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

A characterful style, said team leader Laurent Richet MS, who found it ‘very perfumed, with a profound note of honey, lime curd and fresh linen, lively sharp acidity and a clean mineral finish’. ‘Racy, vibrant, smoky, with lime zest and good balance,’ added Diana Rollan of Hakkasan Group.

£7.99 Frederic Robinson

Michel Fonné, Gewurtztraminer 2014, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

‘Lovely sweet floral nose, lychee fruit with a touch of sweetness, good though not too perfumed,’ began Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen, with team leader Olivier Marie finding ‘very good varietal character, sweet, ripe, yellow Mirabelle plum and button mushroom, classic and well made’.

£8.99 Frederic Robinson

Turckheim, Vieilles Vignes, Gewurztraminer 2014, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer picked up notes of ‘white pear, jasmine and dried pineapple on the nose, pineapple juice and rosewater with the slightest oiliness, but good acidity on the palate’, while team leader Olivier Marie found it ‘atypical, but has a lovely balance, great length and an amazing mineral finish’.

£10.24 Boutinot

Jean Biecher & Fils, Gewurztraminer 2015, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

Ivan Ruiz of Wright Brothers noted its ‘soft nose, great balance and acidity, delicate flavour notes of stone fruits and honeysuckle’, while Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer felt it was ‘less intense, with some waxy citrus aromas, sweet pear fruits and golden florals, Turkish Delight notes on the finish’.

£9.91 Bibendum

Cave de Hunawihr, Reserve, Riesling 2015, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh and perfumed, oily aromas with good acidity on the palate and a slightly sweet, honeyed tone,’ began Scott Levy of Smith & Wollensky, with Hakkasan Group’s Diana Rollan noting its ‘mineral, citrus-lime, fresh and vibrant aromas with stony minerals, and dry, intense style on the palate balanced and easy, elegant’.

£8.64 Liberty Wines

Dopff au Moulin, Reserve, Pinot Gris 2016, Alsace, France

Silver medal winner

‘Green leaf, citrus and hints of peppery radish on the nose, with fruit flavours ranging from lemon to sweet pears, along with minerals and a slight smoky character on the palate, with broad acids,’ said Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer.

£13.42 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Rémy Gresser, Brandhof, Pinot Gris 2014, Alsace, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Light on the nose, refreshing with a touch of apricot,’ began Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen, with Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer noting ‘sweet white peaches and some guava aromas, apricot verging on the tinned on the palate with yellow florals and a slight medicinal hint on the finish’.

£14.10 Top Selection Ltd

Cave de Hunawihr, Réserve, Gewürztraminer 2015, Alsace, France

Bronze medal winner

Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen found it an ‘elegant style, with a lighter nose and balanced palate’, while team leader Olivier Marie highlighted its ‘clean minerality and intensity, very subtle and delicate’.

£10.29 Liberty Wines

Michel Fonné, Pinot Blanc 2014, Alsace, France

Commended medal winner

Turckheim, Riesling, Grand Cru Brand 2013, Alsace, France

Commended medal winner

£13.99 Boutinot

Jean Biecher & Fils, Pinot Gris 2015, Alsace , France

Commended medal winner

£8.68 Bibendum

Rémy Gresser, Riesling, Grand Cru Moenchberg 2012, Alsace, France

Commended medal winner

 

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