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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
6 Apr 2018

From €11.40, £13.95, CA$22.95, 1,980 yen, 19.90 Swiss francs, $19.99, 92 Polish złotys, 1,992 roubles 

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Sorry, Rieslingphobes. This week There Is No Escape from the world's greatest white wine grape and our enthusiasm for it. (Hold on for some great reds next week.) 

The Trimbachs (winemaker Pierre on the left is represented abroad by his brother Jean) are obsessed by Riesling (see yesterday's tasting article Trimbach embrace grands crus). Almost half their production is Riesling (against a regional average of 22%) and they produce the finest dry Riesling in the world, Clos Ste Hune (check out our 66 tasting notes on this long-lived marvel of a wine). But even the Trimbachs were amazed by the quality of their 2015 Rieslings, Jean T calling the vintage unparalleled. It was as hot and dry as the famous heatwave vintage of 2003 but the grapes somehow hung on to record levels of acidity for such a warm year to notch up truly exceptional levels of both sugar and acid. They lost about 30% of the crop, apparently, so their 2015 Rieslings are extra-concentrated.

The result is a wine of 13.95% alcohol and 2.4 g/l residual sugar that is imperceptible, thanks to its total acidity of 7.82 g/l. The pH is just 3.09.

The quality of this wine, their 'basic' Riesling, is all the more remarkable when one thinks that it is based on fruit bought in from their long-term suppliers, many of them 'contracted' on the basis of a handshake alone, sometimes over four generations.  Most of the Riesling for this bottling, at a remarkably friendly price for the quality, comes from hillside sites in the higher, more southerly Haut-Rhin département, from St-Hippolyte to Thann, and what they call 'a secret spot in Scherwiller' north of the family's base in the village of Ribeauvillé (below), where Riesling has the habit of retaining freshness even in hot years. 

Ribeauville-6.jpg

What I love about this wine is that it is classic dry Riesling, its rich, floral nose backed up by incredible tension. It is bone dry but full of concentrated but racy fruit. You could enjoy it now but on the basis of older bottles of this wine I have seen, I don't think there is any hurry whatsoever to drink it. It's already beautiful – far more beautiful than most wines at the price – but I would happily try a bottle five years from now. I gave it a score of 16.5 out of 20 but reckon I may even have underscored it. 

A full 360,000 bottles of this signature wine were made, which is evident from the wide range of retail stockists listed on wine-searcher.com – in the UK, US, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Poland and Russia. The best price in the UK seems to be, as so often, from The Wine Society. Great Western Wine is the retail arm of UK importers Enotria Coe, who also cite The Beckford Bottle Shop, Blanco & Gomez Wine Merchants and The Fine Wine Company as stockists. You'll find more via the link below.

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