2019 Julien Schaal Rangen Volcanique Riesling

A recent 2018 Schoenenbourg Gypse from this maker was so good, a modest bid for a Rangan was essential. After a casual look at what’s around, it’s apparent good Grand Cru Alsace is in the rare treat price category. Happy to say this did not disappoint and made it very clear there’s great growing and winemaking here. Volume and clarity. Generosity and elegance. A range of fine, complex favours. Something sort of petrol and mineral, green mango, white peach and very ripe yellow apples. Great flavours arranged neatly on a strict chessboard of skin phenolics and an indelible caress of unbreakable granite acidity that draw it all out into the distance. Goodness, there’s more, freshly ground sweet spices, floral honey and a twist of quinine bitterness to calm. You could say I like this very much.

13.5% alcohol and no undue warmth. Diam. $59 and in terms of prices for great white wine, a bargain.

96 points.

2018 Julien Schaal Schoenenbourg Grand Cru Riesling Gypse

Jancis Robinson has been a favourite longer form writer for over thirty years. Her prose has an uncanny knack of making me want to go and search out a bottle. Prose which always flows well without cliches, worn figurative language and over used idiom. This maker’s stuff got effusive praise for great fruit and value. Googling, there were a few bottles at auction. Snagged one and here we went. Rich in petrol, sour apple and sweet pineapple at first, it turned into one of those brilliant whites that just get fresher and more even in the glass. A driving ozone freshness took control of bright Pink Lady apple and white peach. The structure supremely balanced between flowing positive acidity, pithy phenolic ripeness (time on skins?) and a glycerol glide. More glorious complications from a sense of powdery chalk and earth. Gypse is gypsum I think, auto suggested no doubt. Over three evenings, nothing budged, just deep complexity and power on pin point refreshment. Completely smitten, oh Jancis.

Just to add more surprise to the story, further googling showed this was available as a direct import from the Melbourne based on line shop that’s Vinomofo who are better known for clearing secret Shiraz at deep discounts. Sadly all the Julien Schaal had sold out. Looks like I’d better pay more attention.

13% alcohol. Diam, seems to fit those long neck Alsatian bottles well. $47 at auction.

95 points pushing 96.

2015 Trimbach Riesling

From a pretty limited experience of things Alsace, the attraction was Jancis Robinson choosing this as wine of the week a while ago. JR seems a bit knowledgeable about what she describes as the world’s greatest white grape. There was also a bottle of the deluxe Cuvée Emile in the past that was very delicious and helped the leap into the land of pickled cabbage. Dry, balanced and a good amount of pithy fruit weight in this, the most basic in Trimbach’s range. A welter of fruit flavours in fact, all sorts of citrus, apples, white peach, something like green mango too which gives a slightly sour cut and cues the sweep of cleansing acidity. Nestled amongst the fruit are some beeswax and vanilla savour and some baking spices which are typical of good Alsace it seems. La doyenne is right on.

13% alcohol. Screwcap, how Riesling loves you. $27.

92 points.

2017 Monoprix Supermarket Alsace Riesling put in the bottle by Ruhlman of Dambach la Ville

It’s an euro more than the supermarket’s basic Alsatian, so organic it is and never mind the expense. For once a lucky strike. Clean, fresh and some real fruit with a nicely tense balance of good ripe acidity and maybe a touch of residual. Seems dryish though. Mid mouth the citrusy apples and Alsace spice swell but just waver a bit towards the end. The acid pulls it back into shape and keeps things tidy. Satisfying Riesling for next to nowt. Eee, that were luxury.

12.50% alcohol. Cork and doesn’t la belle France love them. 9 euros!

90 points.