2001: A Wine Odyssey — Berserker Offline @ The Palace (The Palace Steakhouse, SF): Summary: The lesser sibling to Trimbach’s legendary Clos Ste Hune, Cuvee “Freddy" has a reputation as one of the purest varietal expressions in Alsace. The vineyards are the Grand Crus of Geisberg and Osterberg, right in Trimbach’s home town of Ribeauville. Marl-limestone-sandstone soil and steep southern exposure provide conventionally good conditions for great Riesling (unlike the full-limestone soil of Clos Ste Hune). Because the grapes are sourced from two different Grands Crus, Trimbach cannot label CFE as GC, even if they wanted to (which they don’t).
Rich and pleasantly brioche-y out of the bottle, with air this develops into seriously focused, pure, un-botrytized Alsace Riesling. Phenomenally high acidity with elegant varietal character.
Score: Around 9.
Visual: Clear, day-bright. Light gold with reflections of yellow and straw. Moderate-plus concentration. No gas or sediment. Diminished tears.
Nose: Clean, moderate plus intensity nose. Notes of baked green apple, with emphasis on “baked” - some brioche / autolytic notes (possible lees stirring?). Warm stone. Faint lime pith note. As this opened up, some lemon (confected) and slight petrol/pool-toy (TDN) emerged. Notable (though not especially surprising) is the absence of any hints of botrytis in a Grand Cru bottling of such ripeness. This may be stylistic (the Osterberg and Geisberg GC vineyards are steep, with good winds that stave off rot). Also 2001 was cooler and more classical than the exceptional 2000 - perhaps it wasn’t a vintage conducive to botrytis. Overall still youthful with some signs of development, especially towards the end of the evening (the brioche aromas blew off a bit, revealing more varietal character underneath). This wine has some complexity already, but will develop even more with age.
Palate: Dry (<3g RS, possibly bone dry), medium bodied with moderate alcohol ~12.5%? [yes—12.5%]. More baked apple yeastiness mid-palate, with some citrus tones and hints of warm stones. No phenolic bitterness. Solidly high acid (very clean, balancing tart malic with strong tartaric character). Phenomenally balanced in a classic dry riesling style. The finish is moderately long, with balanced fruit, secondaries, and acidity all the way.
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(Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Émile) A rather soft nose at first, reticent too, although it does open up within an hour to reveal more overt notes of honeyed limes on toast. Nevertheless the aromatic definition does not improve, the scents remaining definable but hardly the most precise. The same characteristic is currently afflicting the palate, which is rather full and broad, but with little interest through the middle and it is only in the finish that I see a sudden flourish of depth and character. The structure on the palate currently seems very diffuse and warm. This is being really awkward at present, and I suspect this is simply a matter of youthful inhibition; ten years is just too young for this cuvée (when will I learn?). There is a rather solid length to the finish. This needs time, and hopefully it will tighten together if left to slumber.
(Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile) Bright light yellow color; mineral, lime, green fruit nose; oily textured, structured, very tart, lime, citrus, mineral, tart peach palate with depth and bone dry acidity; medium-plus finish
(Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile) This is a wine I have always loved but have not drank enough of it. It is one of the first dry Rieslings I latched onto. This was supposed to be a great vintage and it was. Petrol, lemon, curd-like aromas on the precise and steely nose. Palate was lemony and rich but with a lovely austere mineral streak. Great acidity that was there from the beginning to the finish. Electric. Did not greatly improve as it remained open but no need as this sung from first sip to last.