Sunday, March 2, 2008

Marc Tempe: 'Spiritual Godson' to Leonard Humbrecht

A few weeks ago our local rep for Roy Cloud's Vintage '59 brought in some delicious Alsace wines from Marc Tempe, whom Humbrecht refers to as his spiritual godson in the region. Well, the wines lived up to Mr. Humbrecht's billing. All of these were impressive, at times very mineral and textured, at other times just incredibly lively and fruity, like chomping on a handful of fresh grapes, so vivid and pure was the expression of fruit. All of these are produced biodynamically, with a minimum of added sulpur, and are generally fermented for longer periods of time; accordingly they are held back a year or so longer than the typical Alsace releases.

Though I apparently was in very brief note taking mood, the wines were killer.

2004 Pinot Gris Zellenberg

Bottled with a minimum of SO2; as a result the fruitiness is appealing and there is a touch of pettilance (spritz, if you must).

2004 Gewurztraminer Zellenberg

Ripe red grapefruit on the nose leads to a crisp, TASTY palate of gewurz. Not overly spicy or hot, which for an Alsatian version of this varietal is about all I can ask. If more gewurz were this fresh, delicious and full of balanced character I'd consider drinking more of it.

2002 Riesling Grafenreben

Fermentation lasted two years for this wine and took place in used Olivier Leflaive barrels. This wine is so textured and delicious - it brings to mind a vinous version of not-too-sweet lemon icing.

The Marc Tempe field blend (name? '05 vintage?)

1/3 each Pinot Gris, Gewurz and Riesling. Super fresh, lively and persistent. Fun.

1999 Gewurztraminer Mambourg SGN

I'm not an SGN guy. But this was impressive and I was glad to taste it. Super spicy, botrytized gewurz - buckwheat honey, cardamom and over ripe citrus were all there. Great wine, just not my cup.