I share a warehouse with a wine importer in Sydney. As you can imagine we talk a lot and share a few glasses of wine. I have to admit however, his idea of entry level wine and mine are not quite the same.
He often talks about a nice little quaffer that would retail for $50. It is all relative of course, but it does allow us to engage in some lengthy discussions on wine and their value.
This came to mind recently when I noticed a whole bunch of new, pretty wine boxes in the front of the warehouse
You see, they have just become the national importer for Trimbach. The “Gold Bullion” benchmark for my favourite variety and my favourite region. I am talking of course, of Riesling and Alsace in France.
So where to start?
With the Region itself! Alsace is often referred to as the “Disneyland” of wine regions. It looks just picture perfect. Small, medieval looking towns with cobble stone streets and thatched covered houses, with awesome names like Ribeauville and Riquewihr. Then you have these magnificent hill side vineyards that roll onto the door steps of the houses and the villages. Oh did I tell you that it has the highest level of Michelin Stared restaurants in all of France. And this is even before we get to the wines. If you love elegant whites that just scream power, purity and place, then Alsace is for you. Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, dry wines, sweet wines; they even do a little red. But in reality this is all about The Great White and in particular Riesling.
If you have read any of my posts before, I often rave about Riesling. I just don’t get why this wine is not more popular. When I taste a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, which I was forced to do recently, and compare this to a young Riesling. Well it is a no brainer. In Australia I think it has something to do with the 70’s and 80’s when sickly sweet cask wine was labelled as Riesling. But that doesn’t explain why all the pretty young things under 30 don’t drink more Riesling. I should not be too worried for if everyone liked the same thing, I would not have a job and Taylor Swift would be even bigger than she is. (One of these days I will tie in a post about wine with my hatred of Pop music, but that is for another day.)
So back to Riesling. You have sensational examples from Germany, Austria, Alsace and Australia. Australia can rightly lay claim to some of the best. The Clare Valley and the sub region of Polish Hill in particular, can boast world class status. You should grab some Grosset Polish Hill when you get the chance. Not only are Riesling some of the greatest white wines in the world, they are also offer the best value. When the top White Burgundy’s top $800 and the Top Red Wines are in the $3000 plus category, the top Riesling is only $300 and guess what; it is a wine from Trimbach.
To be more correct the Trimbach Clos St Hune Riesling. $300 may not sound like good value, but again it is all relative.
You may not have heard of this wine, and when you see it, the label does not scream quality, but what it lacks on the outside, it makes up for on the inside. It is sourced from the “Rosacker” vineyard, located in the village of Hunawihr. This parcel of land, which stretches just over 1.67 hectares, has been in the Trimbach family for more than 200 years. Now that is pretty hard to beat in Australia. It is rightly regarded as one of the great wines of the world and the Riesling by which all others are judged.
Now we get to value. My Importer friend was trying to get me to but a 3 pack, as he was telling me what a great deal it is, and that it comes in such a nice wooden box. I hesitated for about 3 seconds and made do with 1 bottle and then a selection of Trimbachs more reasonably priced wines. These “lesser” wines from Trimbach will probably offer me more enjoyment, for the Clos St Hune is now a collectable, just like the first growths of Bordeaux and the Icon wines of Penfolds.
I don’t normally buy these icon wines, as I am always slightly disappointed whenever I drink them. Sure they are great, but they are just not worth the money. I continue to come back to my rule. You really don’t need to spend over $50 to get something world class. You certainly can and I certainly do, but then you are not paying for the quality, you are paying for the experience.
I am certainly looking forward to the experience of opening my 1 bottle of Clos St Hune. I have already planned the occasion. I have a lunch coming up with some good friends and I will match it with a slow cooked pork belly recipe I just love. It should be bloody sensational.
Riesling and Alsace are my favourite wines. Do yourself a favour and track them down
I will be offering a “lesser” Trimbach Riesling in an upcoming Bullion Drop, but if you do want to try the Clos St Hune, drop me an e-mail and I will see if the importer wants to crack one of these 3 packs. I should be able to get you a bottle or two, but it will not be cheap!