2007 Domaine Yvette et Michel Beck-Hartweg, Gewurztraminer, Cuvée de L’Ours, Vin d’Alsace, France.
This exotic, luxuriously fruit forward and well aged Gewurztraminer by Beck-Hartweg almost tastes like a Vin Tradive, such is the lush concentration and sweetness on the palate, this wine with its residual sugar is best served with the right pairing, but is is absolutely drinking sensationally right now with the beginnings of tertiary elements coming alive and adding complexity, balancing the wine’s overt nature. While the fresh fruits have turned more preserved and baked with silky layers of apple, peach and figs leading the way along with candied orange, lychee and crystallized ginger, as well as hints of rosewater and lemon curd. The sweetness, instead of limiting your food pairing choice, actually opens your mind to unique combinations and the grape’s less acid profile, compared to Riesling makes it a lovely choice for heartier dishes and full meals like a full Thanksgiving spread and or honey baked ham, or pate and cheese starters just to name a few. The extra maturity here adds a truffle, autumn leaves and lingering dried pineapple character that makes this Gewurztraminer very compelling, and the supple textures are pleasing, this is a fine example of the varietal that sometimes gets overlooked and is presented in an unapologetic sweet style that has largely gone out of fashion, but still very much should not.
The Beck-Hartweg estate, all organic and biodynamic, is a domaine noted for their small lot and handcrafted wines with focus on generous ripeness and concentration, as this beautiful and mature Gewurztraminer shows, now run by Florian and Mathilde Beck-Hartweg, taking over from their elders Yvette and Michel, who themselves had really brought this property into the modern era and upped the quality here. As mentioned in recent review, the Beck-Hartweg winery is one of the historic domaines of the Alsace region that goes back to the early 1500s, and has become an underground success in the natural wine world in recent years, though almost unheard of in California, except by a few Alsace enthusiasts, and I haven’t seen many bottles over the years, which is shame considering just how good this bottle is. Located in the medieval town of in Dambach-la-Ville, Beck-Hartweg has a solid collection of vineyards in some important crus and unique terroirs with a continental climate, that is sheltered from rain by the Vosges foothills. The underpinning of their 8 hectares of vines is mainly granitic sand on pink granite bedrock, but also there is some area with sandstone and volcanic soils, which all adds to the perfect conditions for ripe concentration and complexity of the wines made here. Though this wine was made before they took over, Florian and Mathilde, who are the 16th generation to make the wines here, are really exciting and youthful talents, they have a huge respect for their land and work in a holistic way in the vineyards and use a gentle hand in the cellar. This is a producer I am really admiring and one I highly recommend looking for, especially their traditional examples of Riesling and Pinot Gris, as well their Gewurz offerings.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive