2018 Domaine Agathe Bursin, Riesling, Zinnkoepflé Grand Cru, Vin d’Alsace, France.
This gorgeously crystalline Riesling is one of my favorites of the vintage from Alsace with Bursin really capturing the true essence of the place and year here with beautiful white flowers, tree picked apricots and wet stones leading the way on the fine medium bodied palate. With air in the glass this delicately pale Riesling adds some gripping acidity and mineral tones as well as hints of tropical fruit, zesty tangerine and some minty herb or tea notes. I have been following and a fan of this young vigneron for a few years now and I am really impressed with her wines, these Agathe Bursin offerings are a savvy collection of varietal bottlings with her Rieslings being exceptional stand outs like this beautiful Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé with its lithe and delicate nature hiding the depth and concentration somewhat at this stage making it even more compelling for a youthful expression. These wines are unique and terroir driven with Agathe’s cellars located in the commune of Westhalten, about fifteen kilometers to the south of Colmar, one of Alsace’s most historic towns, with three famous hills of calcareous soils, Zinnkoepflé, Strangenberg and Bollenberg, that form a crown around the village and where you find the best vineyard parcels. These ancient limestone soils, along with fossilized anemones and oyster shells as well as its special micro climate, which is almost as sunny and dry as the Mediterranean regions, because of rain shelter of the Vosges mountain range, creates one of Alsace’s most intriguing places, which includes this Zinnkoepflé Grand Cru site.
While expertly doing fabulous Riesling, Bursin is also very gifted with Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Pinot Noir, which she has a cult following for and like Deiss, she has become curious about doing field blends and inter plantings of varietals, for which I think is most like the future for Alsace. Bursin, a one woman show does only about 3,000 cases and the Grand Cru stuff, as with this wine is very limited and highly desirable. The 2018 Zinnkoepflé Grand Cru is in league with some of the region’s elite wineries including one of my all time favorites Domaine Weinbach as well as Zindt Hambrecht and Trimbach and reminds me of the re-emerging Albert Mann as well, this is excellent dry Riesling! Agathe works with a special self developed holistic approach in the vineyards with biodynamic practices and only hand tending from bud break to harvest, including her own herbal tea remedies, all of which promotes healthy energy within vines and soils in this arid and dry part of Alsace. In the cellar, Bursin is pretty traditional, but again is laser focused on purity and aromatics in her wines and almost no manipulations during her winemaking process preferring her cuvees, other than the Grand Cru’s, like this one, which see limited time in barrel, are fermented in stainless steel. So with the used oak this Zinnkoepflé Riesling is richer and rounder than her basic version, but still with purity of form and vibrancy. There’s loads of character and quality in this 2018 Zinnkoepflé Riesling that seems ever changing in the glass, in that same intriguing way a great Burgundy does, it is deliciously seductive and a wine to search out.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive