2009 Domaine Bohn AOC Alsace Lieu-Dit Schieferberg Chapelle Oberhagel Riesling

$50

This wine was born in the heart of shales. Its olfactory expression reveals aromas of sandalwood, wax, jasmine and white chocolate enhanced by spicy notes of coriander and camphor. It is  a saline wine coated with a lingering and luscious minerality, and honeysuckle.  Can be paired with with noble fish and shellfish at sea, but also on land with poultry and chanterelles. Decant before tasting.

 

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Riesling

Riesling is an aromatic white grape variety producing arguably some of the finest white wines in the world. Public misconception can give Riesling a negative connotation, but it actually varies greatly in style from bone-dry (“trocken”), off-dry (“halbtrocken”) to very sweet. The labelling terms for Riesling’s sweetness levels are as follows, each next one increasing in sweetness. Kabinett, being the lightest style, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein.

It is a wonder of a vine adapting and preserving its identity wherever it is grown. Riesling is the great grape of Germany, perhaps the world’s most important region for producing this variety. It is also of significant importance to Alsace, France and grown popularly in the United States and Australia.

These wines tend to have a prominent aroma of petroleum as well as beeswax or honey and flowers. They pair excellently with many foods depending on the style, but their classic partner is Indian or Asian dishes.

Alsace, France

On the border between Germany and France lies the region of Alsace, renown for their aromatic white grape varietals, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. As with many other northerly regions in France, Alsace has a much cooler climate, which is showcased through how their vineyards lie on very steep slopes. These steep slopes, depending how they face, allow for the greatest potential of direct access to sunlight. Along with protection from wind by the Vosges Mountains, and the lack of clouds, these conditions allow for the grapes in Alsace to reach a proper level of sugar ripeness. 

Riesling is the most widely planted grape variety here and traditionally has a recognizably high acidity with a medium-full body, flavors of citrus, stone fruits, and a stony/steely character. Gewürztraminer, famous for its distinct aromas of lychee and rose, also displays baking spices and a golden tinge to the final wine from the skin of the grape being a beautiful light pink color. Alsace additionally grows Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Pinot Blanc. All of their still wines are grown in a variety of styles including dry, off-dry, and sweet. Specific to this region you may see a few distinct labelling terms outside of Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru. These are Vendanges Tardives (VT) or ‘late harvest’ and Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN). Both of these terms mean that the wines specified must be made from one of the four Alsace noble varieties: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, or Muscat, and they must have a specific minimum sugar ripeness depending on the grape variety. The SGN wines will have a higher level of sugar ripeness than those of VT. Wines with these labels will be sweeter! 

Since taking over the family winery at the age of 18, Bernard Bohn has crafted an individually unique style of wines on the only outcrop of schist terroir in Alsace. The Bohn family members have been winegrowers for well over three centuries in Reichsfeld, a small village at the far end of the valley, where until recently, the local Alsatian dialect was still more common than French. Today, Bernard and his son Arthur farm just over 9 hectares and go beyond organic agriculture to incorporate uncommon techniques, such as completely abandoning vineyard plowing and allowing cover crops to coexist to create balance in the vines. Riesling is the king of white wines on one of Bernard Bohn’s favourite terroirs: shale.

 

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