2019 Domaine Weinbach, Les Vignes du Prêcheur, White Field Blend, Vin d’Alsace AOC, France.
The newest wine in Domaine Weinbach’s stellar collection of Alsace wines is their Les Vignes du Prêcheur, which is single vineyard co-fermented white field blend of 5 native Alsatian grape varietals, with about 40% Riesling, 30% Auxerrois, 20% Pinot Gris, 5% Muscat and 5% Sylvaner. This vineyard, knowns as the Preacher’s Vineyard has mixed grape make up and sits just below the famous Grand Cru Kaefferkopf site that is set on sandy and clay based soils, which makes for expressive and ripe fruit. I have a long history with Domain Weinbach, it is one of my favorite wineries and I’ve tried almost everything they have produced, but this was brand new for me and I was very excited to try this Les Vignes du Prêcheur, which may have been inspired by historic blend of the past here in Alsace or the modern versions of field blends, as done fantastically well by Marcel Deiss or Marc Tempe. This 2019 Les Vignes du Prêcheuris nicely and subtly perfumed with citrus blossoms and jasmine flowers along with wet stones, orchard fruits and a hint of honey leading to a brisk dry medium bodied palate of kumquat, white peach, apricot and green apple fruits that are accented by almonds, quince paste, mint, chalk, spices and tropical essences. The wine gains a textural roundness, but stays firm and saline rich throughout with just right amount of tangy, savory and bitter elements to balance the fruit, this wine adds charm, complexity and purpose with every sip. This wine is very unique and distinct, it really impressed me, even though I am such a huge fan of the single varietal wines at this estate and I will certainly be getting more bottles. Weinbach is a celebrated and historic property run by the Faller family best known for Riesling, like Trimbach and Zindt-Hambrecht, with a top lineup of cru bottlings, but none of other grapes, like Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Sylvaner should be overlooked as they too are some of the finest in the region.
Domaine Weinbach, one of Alsace’s great estates, was originally founded by the Order of Capuchin monks back in 1612, property was a walled in and a totally self contained site making some of the best wine in the region for the better part of a hundred years. The “Clos des Capuchins” is the vineyard that surrounds the domaine, it sits directly below the prestigious Schlossberg Cru (the first terroir in Alsace to receive the status of Grand Cru), along with the Grand Cru Furstentum (known for Gewürztraminer and as well as to the adjacent Altenbourg Cru (known for Pinot Gris) vineyard that rises above the Weinbach clos. The domaine is in the heart of Kayserberg’s hills and its valleys are some of the most picturesque places in Europe. The Les Vignes du Prêcheur vineyard is In the process of certification and has been converted to all organic and biodynamic farming methods, just like the Weinbach estate vines see. The Weinbach’s have employed a short pruning of the vines to keep yields low, to promote concentration and allow for aromatic intensity, which shows on this 2019 version, which looks like the debut release, as far as I can tell. The winemaking here is always impeccably clean and non interventionist in technique with this wine seeing a gentle whole cluster pressing in a soft pneumatic press, with indigenous yeasts and aging exclusively in large neutral oak casks. The Les Vignes du Prêcheur got an elevage on the lees of close to 8 months before bottling without fining, as Weinbach is all vegan, it saw just a light filtration for clarity and stabilization. The winery says this Les Vignes du Prêcheur white makes for an excellent aperitif, but can also be enjoyable also with a refreshing lunch. They suggested the following pairings, continuing on, it would be great with quiche, onion pie, fish terrine, cheese soufflé, light appetizers and grilled chicken, all of which I will not argue with, this is tasty stuff, perfect for the warm days and evenings of late Spring and Summer time.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive