A Tale of Two Rieslings: Marcel Deiss Engelgarten 2009 and Eblin-Fuchs Rosacker 2008

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Alsace remains undiscovered country. Few have the opportunity to taste broadly or deeply of the region’s wines, relying instead on precedent. Precedent has proven valuable but leaves an impression that is not representative of Alsatian diversity.

Neither of these two producers sit comfortably in the common perception of Alsace. Deiss, while certainly garnering significant critical praise, does so by breaking with tradition and embracing the weird genius of his own vision: coplantation, biodynamic farming, no green harvests. As my profile article from last year enthused, these are wines that show “astral complexity, and a mystery uncommon not only in Alsace, but throughout the wine world.”

The 2009 Engelgarten is tight and minerally at first, but opens into extremely intense orchard peaches and nectarines on the bone dry tightly woven mineral finish. This wine is very impressive with tons of substance for mid to long term aging. This will probably be wonderful and fully open in 4-6 years.

Excellent to Excellent+
$60 at Kits Wine

Eblin-Fuchs represents the small time traditionalist producer making superb wines from grand cru sites for entirely reasonable prices. Untraditionally Eblin-Fuchs follow biodynamic practices and have also embraced vineyard labelling even for their non-grand cru wines. These are straightforward terroir focused wines that, while not reaching the same heights of brilliance as Deiss, offer unique, delicious flavours with real typicity.

The Rosacker Grand Cru is classic Alsatian dry Riesling with a lot of citrus and apple character. Again, this is a minerally wine but not at the same level of aromatic density and impressive structure as the Deiss. Nonetheless, this is an excellent “typical” wine with good QPR.

Very Good+
$45 at Liberty Wine Merchants

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