Delightful wine tasting lunch at The Ocean with Jean Trimbach

 Gorgeous seafood at The Ocean

Gorgeous seafood at The Ocean

 Jean Trimbach

Jean Trimbach

As Jean presented the Maison Trimbach, an Alsace wine house which dates back to 1626, he insisted on the tradition being passed on from generation to generation.  He was particularly proud to announce that the 14th generation was already here. “La relève est assurée” he beamed with delight.

It reminded me of Michael Douglas who recently said: “There is something wonderful about a dynasty. It gives you a feeling of immortality.” Indeed, listening to Jean Trimbach you get the feeling that the Trimbach are going to be here forever, just the same as the Hugel*, the Josmeyer and the Schlumberger, to name just a few Alsatian families.

These Alsace wine houses rely on tradition but have never rested on their laurels. As true Alsatians they have always yearned to make the best possible wines, to harvest the best grapes, to search for the best terroir. Each of them, in their own way, with their own strong personalities, but with the same dedication, have done their best from generation to generation.

With fifty hectares, Trimbach has one of the largest ownership of vineyards in Alsace. “We rely solely on our own supply of grapes, explains Jean Trimbach, and we also have our own supply of Grand Cru which represents 30% of our own vineyards.” Rieslings from Trimbach get their personality thanks to their structure. Very masculine in style, these wines have a strong backbone that holds them together giving them firmness and richness. Jean Trimbach explains that this is achieved thanks to early bottling: “our aim is to bottle early to catch the freshness and the fruitiness. What we want is to mature in the bottle.” All the work is basically done in the vineyard: grapes, mostly from old vines, are harvested at full maturity and viticulture is organic or biodynamic. “We want to stay close to nature and modify as little as possible what Mother Nature gives us,” he adds.

My pick:

Riesling 2013

Classic. Mineral nose with oyster and apple. Very focused, dry with high acidity. Apple and lime on the palate. Very nice fresh finish.

Riesling Reserve 2012

Older vines give complexity to the wine. Wet stone and wet wool, smokiness on the nose balanced by a distinctive fruitiness and freshness. High acidity with strong backbone. Fruits (redcurrant, grapefruit, apple) and minerality. Balance, elegance and long finish.

Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2007

From Grand Cru vineyards only (Geisberg and Osterberg), 70 year old vines giving tiny grapes and aromatic intensity. Minerality (flint) and touch of petrol on the nose, the wine fully expresses itself on the palate: dry with mineral and seafood characteristics (oyster), distinctive acidity with lime, grapefruit softened by a touch of spice and butter. Complex, full bodied and intense. Very long finish.

Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2019

An iconic and rare wine (only 8000 bottles produced each year). With 1.7 ha of vineyard, Clos Sainte Hune is solely owned by Trimbach. Its soil (disintegrated seashells and limestone) and its exposure (south/ South East) make it an exceptional vineyard that one could compare to La Romanée Conti. The terroir gives this Riesling unique flavour, extraordinary fruit concentration and ageing potential. On the nose, butter, pizza dough and saltiness mixed with fruit freshness. Full body, intense, dry with high acidity. The balance is perfect; the finish is long and elegant. Superb.

 The legendary Clos Sainte Hune

The legendary Clos Sainte Hune

Riesling Vendanges Tardives 2002

Only two vendanges tardives have been made from Riesling in the past three decades: 1998 and 2002. A beautiful nose of apricot, orange marmelade with a touch of smoke and spice. The palate has such high acidity that it manages to tone down the level of sugar (44g/l). It’s an explosion of apricot, lime, grapefruit and mandarin on the palate.

As Jean Trimbach says: “we take what mother nature gives us.” Well, I’ll raise a glass to that! Thank you Mother Nature and thank you Trimbach for bringing it to us.

Le French Gourmay in Hong Kong:

Alsace will be the Guest of Honour for the French Gourmay this year. Do not miss the opportunity to try some stunning Riesling, delightful Gewürztraminer and delicious Pinot Noir. From sweet to dry, still to sparkling and white to red, Alsace wines offer fully flavoured wines with always one key element in mind: top quality.

So let’s meet at PMQ this weekend for a quick drink of Alsace wines and throughout the month of May in one of the 111 participating restaurants.

For more information: www.frenchgourmay.com

Etienne Hugel

* One cannot talk about Alsace wines without mentioning the recent premature death of Etienne Hugel. Etienne was the wonderful representative of Famille Hugel, the famous Alsace wine house located in Riquewihr. Full of life, amiable, approachable and passionate, he was the kind of man who could convince you to tattoo the word Riesling on your arm, who was able to share his knowledge with intense passion, with whom you immediately bonded. Being part of the Hugel dynasty, he is in some ways immortal. First, because his children are here to continue his legacy. Secondly, because he has shared his passion with so many people throughout the world, has touched so many souls, that anybody who has met him will always think of him when they drink Alsace wine. Cheers Etienne and thank you.