Domaine Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste Hune Alsace 2014
The 2014 Riesling Clos Ste Hune is clear and intense on the concentrated nose, offering ripe white-fruit aromas. On the palate, this is a bone-dry, vital and finessed Riesling with a long and tension-filled, salty finish. The 2014 is a kind of quintessence of the Ribeauvillé/Hunawihr terroir: pure, lean, stony and salty, with no flesh, but lots of bones and minerals at this very early moment. Picked at 35 hl/ha this is a straight Sainte Hune that will last for for 30+ years.
Ribeauvillé (with Hunawihr), and their rather cool terroirs on deep calcareous and sandstone marl soils, are among the winners of the warm and—during the vegetation period—dangerously dry 2015 vintage. Trimbach is just another example, and consumers will certainly fall in love with the 2015 icon Rieslings of this almost-400-year-old family enterprise after they have been released in a couple of years. Sure, there have been dryer Clos Sainte Hune vintages than the 2015, which ended up with 14% alcohol and 14 grams of unfermented sugar, but was there any better? I wouldn't claim the 2015 is the greatest ever, but I'd give it a wild card in any CSH vertical tasting for the next 30+ years. With the (dry) Cuvée Frédéric Emile and the (medium-dry) Grand Cru Geisberg there are two more world-class Rieslings from Ribeauvillé. And, being at probably the most famous Riesling estate in all Alsace, the 2015 Grand Cru Schlossberg (the second future release after the premiere of 2014) and the Cuvée M (from the Grand Cru Mandelberg) are of great quality! Since we are talking about Riesling, the Réserve and the Sélection de Vieilles Vignes (not produced in 2010 and 2013) are excellent dry Rieslings to be paired with many kinds of dishes. During the summer months in 2015, nobody at Trimbach thought the wines, especially the Rieslings (of which Trimbach produces 350,000 bottles per year), would turn out that well two years later. But nature was propitious and ended the dreadful summer drought with a good rainfall in August, which, as Jean and Pierre Trimbach put it during the tasting, "saved the vintage." I'd rather say the rainfall caused a miracle and pushed the vintage into unforeseeable heights. Although the summer was extreme on many days, the 2015 wines kept their freshness, mineral expression and linear Trimbach style. "Thank God the crop was low since the beginning, otherwise nothing would have become ripe," says Pierre Trimbach. But the grapes became not just ripe but also intense and concentrated, giving the wines, especially the Rieslings, exceptional qualities and extraordinary aging potential.