2016 Domaine Agathe Bursin, Sylvaner “Lutzeltal” Alsace, France.
A beautiful and crystalline wine from Agathe Bursin, the 2016 Lutzeltal Sylvaner delivers a thrilling and complete performance that rivals any white made from this varietal and proves the talents of this Alsace producer, putting Bursin in the regions elite vignerons. In the past I’ve loved the Sylvaner wines of Domaine Weinbach, and they continue to be a standard barer for this grape in Alsace, but this Bursin is absolutely gorgeous and is one of the best I’ve tried, highlighting the quality of the vintage and of place. Bursin’s estate is in the town of Westhalten, near the famous Alsace wine center Colmar, set below the three hills of of the area which are a calcareous formation, these are Zinnkoepflé, Strangenberg and Bollenberg, that form a crown around the village. This is a serious terroir with a very warm climate and littered with fossilized anemones and oyster shells with sandstone soils that gives these wines there unique bold expressions. Agathe Bursin, the youthful viticultrice, is also experimenting with co-planted varietals, and looks to be about to explore the path that Marcel Deiss has gone down and her style is generous, but with refined elegance and a traditional feel, and this Sylvaner is very along those lines with it’s medium body and opulent fruit backed up by brisk focus and sharp detailing. The beautiful and lightly floral nose is vivid with intriguing white flowers, saline, mineral tones and orchard fruits that leads to a richly flavored palate that is both dry and decedent with a mix of citrus, peach, quinces and tangy mango fruits along with a chalky/stony element, a hint of lees and an array of minerals, spice and a touch of Summer herbs. This Sylvaner really impresses texturally and with it’s lovely charms, and it’s a grape that needs to be re-examined, especially when you find one as good as this! With it’s extract and subtle acidity, I’d expect this Bursin Lutzeltal Sylvaner to last a decade or more, but not drinking it now would be very hard indeed, this is pure pleasure and class in the glass and a great Summery white.
($24 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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