I had heard good things, but did not hold out much hope. My tasting experiences with Alsatian wines as of late had almost always been disappointing with seemingly every wine being over-ripe and botrytized. They were heavy boring wines. Yet I loved Alsatian wines so much in the past that I can’t help but keep trying them and a bottle on sale at my local store tempted me once again. The producer had been recommended to me several times so I put down my twenty bucks and gave it a shot.
Hallelujah! Finally some great white wine from Alsace. The Albert Mann 2004 Riesling is an absolute delight. It’s a tightrope of acidity and mineral essences over unmistakable, absolutely bright riesling fruit that even sports a nice touch of petroleum. This wine was a bargain for $19.99 and I am going out of my way to track down the Grand Crus from this estate. This beauty was made by the brothers Maurice and Jacky Barthelmé who own 19 hectares of prime vineyards, of which five are in Grand Cru vineyards.
In such a wine you can taste varietal, vineyard and vintage - none of which are overwelmed by cellar technique or ultra-ripe fruit. The Barthelmé brothers are to be complimented for their skill, vision, focus and their courage to make a wine counter to the “hot” style in Alsace these days. They made an outstanding wine with this riesling and I’ll soon report on their other offerings. As good as this wine is, I’m sure they’ll be excellent. Not suprisingly, the Mann wines are selected by the talented importer Peter Weygandt and imported by the Weygandt-Metzler company.