Spotlight on Alsace: Marc Tempe Rodelsberg 2005
There is an irony to be found in Alsace in the wines of Marc Tempe. Tempe has signed on fully to Nicolas Joly’s Rennaissance des Appellations group that supports an intense kind of biodynamics with a high level of commitment. The irony comes with the similarity of Tempe’s wines to those of Marcel Deiss, which seem the closest in Alsace in spirit, if not in stated philosophy. Deiss, remember, has famously declared that he detests Nicolas Joly for his dogmatic adherence to biodynamics. Detestation and degustation are closely related it seems.
Tempe is a fan of blending, like Deiss, and this particular wine blends 25% Pinot Gris in with 75% Gewurztraminer. Tempe also ferments his wines in oak, on the lees of indigenous yeasts and without sulpher. The result here is both extremely impressive and extremely interesting.
The nose has a nice rich richness with flowers and rich tropical fruit, undoubtedly from the Gewurztraminer – but it also isn’t oppressive in its opulence like 100% Gewurztraminer can be. The palate presents banana and pineapple, is very juicy and exceptionally balanced. The wine finishes dry and extremely delicious with a bit of chalky minerality that rounds it out well.
This unique blended wine is better than most Gewrztraminer and Pinot Gris as you find them on their own in Alsace as it draws very well from the strengths of both grapes while minimizing their weaknesses. Tempe is a great winemaker doing untraditional things. If you like a lot of character in your wines but prefer them on the drier side then tempe may be for you. It helps that Tempe seems surprisingly atempo with Deiss, who should theoretically be his arch enemy.
$55 at Everything Wine