Spotlight on Riesling: Albert Mann Rosenberg Riesling 2010

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Alsatian wines have a reputation for unctuousness. This is a mischaracterization. I was lucky to spend several days in Alsace about a year ago and the variety of styles is amongst the greatest of any wine region in the world, and as growers keep discovering more nuances of Alsatian terroir, it is likely this diversity is set only to increase.

Prior to my trip I spent considerable time writing a “Spotlight on Alsace”, which is worth a browse through if you are interested in more details on the wines of this region. Any spotlight on Riesling would not be complete without an Alsatian Riesling, and I can’t think of a better example to get to the heart of the Alsatian conundrum than this Albert Mann Rosenberg. Many in North America associate Alsace with the style of wine made by Domaine Weinbach or Zind-Humbrecht – that is, huge wines with a massive amount of dry extract. And whether these wines have considerable residual sugar or not, they always taste somewhat sweet due to the sheer ripeness of the fruit that goes into the wines.

On the other side are the Protestant wines, such as those of Trimbach, which eschew residual sugar and go for austerity and regal power.

Albert Mann’s Rosenberg sits comfortably on the line between the two styles and is a good example of how diverse Alsace can be. This is a Riesling that would not be out of place in a tasting of dry German rieslings from the Pfalz or Rheingau. However, it would stand out for the slightly harder quality of its minerality and firmer textural feel.

Of Vineyard and Vintage

A wine of citrus and stone, the Riesling grapes for this delicious effort are grown in the Rosenberg vineyard near Wettolsheim. This is not a “Grand Cru” vineyard, but it is considered very good quality and is certainly vastly superior to many (especially those on the valley floor). Comprised of limestone and clay, covered with thin sandy and flint soil, the vineyard sees easterly exposure and long, sunny days during the growing season.

This is also a wine that strongly reflects vintage. 2010 saw very low yields for Alsace and higher than normal acidity. Nevertheless, the grapes saw good phenolic ripeness with a warmer September, despite a cold winter and a strange summer with hot July days but an unusually cold and wet August.

This is a perfect summer wine because of its bright acidity but wonderful core of ripe fruit. It has the sweet and sour quality of the greatest Rieslings and is a perfect pairing for sushi and summer air. I thought this was delicious, and will be buying more. So, be conservative on your purchases to give me a chance!

Excellent
$54 at Marquis Wine Cellars

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