Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Cuvee Laurence Alsace France 2004

Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Cuvee Laurence Alsace France 2004

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David Schildknecht

Subtly alkaline and bracingly saline shadings in the nose of the 2004 Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Cuvee Laurence set the themes for what follows: remarkable refinement, refreshment, and striking minerality for this variety, yet richness, too. A carpet of rose petal and lilies; oceanic depth and salinity of minerals; and generous, luscious peach and citrus cover the palate, carrying into a buoyant, intensely perfumed yet somehow delicate finish. The combination of botrytis and desiccation on these grapes seems to have worked some sort of magic in the context of both the variety and the vintage. The dynamic trio of Fallers continues to bottle some of France’s (hardly just Alsace’s) richest and most flamboyant wines. Beginning with 2005, all of their vineyards are being biodynamically farmed. Laurence Faller finds their 2005s in general “more focused and clear” (this was especially true of Riesling) despite their often prominent botrytis component, and the 2004s richer. I suppose it goes without saying, but one has to carefully scrutinize each Weinbach label, so numerous are the cuvees. And as wonderful as is the distinctiveness exhibited by the vast majority of wines here, even a geek like yours truly could be forgiven for asking whether somewhat fewer different bottlings might benefit consumers as well as journalists!