Vintage Report: Alsace 2011

Vintage Report: Alsace 2011

Thursday 10th January 2013
by Julian Campbell

When searching for a word to sum up their 2011 wines Catherine Faller came up with 'seamless' - a word that very elegantly encapsulates much that is great about these new releases. 

Coming from the somewhat back to front 2011 vintage they could, at various times in the season, have turned out very differently. As it happens, the Weinbach style, always one of the most elegant in all Alsace, sits extremely well with the vintage vagaries that 2011 produced. From Sylvaner to Gewurztraminer, this set of wines should be both an utter joy to taste when young, and easily capable of medium to long term cellaring.

Unlike further south in Burgundy, the Faller's saw their yields back up at normal levels in 2011. An extremely dry spring, following on from one of the driest winters on record, led to a bud break three weeks ahead of usual. With a hydric deficit looming, mother nature responded with three refreshingly wet months in June July and August, before the barometer changed once again signalling the arrival of clear skies and warm, fine Indian summer-esque weather through September and October. These final warm dry conditions didn't bring about much in the way of botrytis, but what little that did occur was exceptionally clear and clean.

Harvest started on the 16th September with the early ripening Pinot Auxerrois (as found in the Pinot Blanc Reserve) and finished under clear skies approximately one month later with the final plots of the original Grand Cru Schlossberg.

Seamless really is a very fine word for this range.  With acidity levels above 2009 but below 2010, there is a delicacy, freshness of structure and sense of harmony to these wines that will no doubt make them incredibly easy to enjoy.