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2003 Riesling de Turckheim, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Alsace

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2003 was the year of the big heatwave all over Europe. Sadly this didn’t only influence the wine quality but had a direct impact on human lives. But of course this isn’t the topic here.

We’d rather talk about joyful things and were curious about how this 2003 Alsatian Riesling de Turckheim by famous producer Zind-Humbrecht would show. It is a bottle that was bought in a wine shop in France with the quite big price tag of about 20 Euro and we poured it shortly after for a casual dinner.

It has an intense golden colour. Nose quite ripe with a feel of saltiness but also some Mirabelle fruit. Maybe a bit intellectual at first. On the palate also some iodine flavours, lots of alcohol heat in the mid-palate and finish. Check the label. Yep, no wonder: 13,5%! It shows also in the weight but texture wise you would rather associate it with lightness- no oily or viscous feel here. One thing that bothers a bit is a slight bitterness in the wine; this disappears though with some airing and also with the right food pairing (some toast with tapenade helped a lot). Also the acidity could be a bit higher. The finish is mid-long with quite some heat. A Riesling that has already reached its top I assume, but it is nice to drink now with some airing and especially with the right food – without food it appears rather intellectual and slightly overalcoholic. 87-88 Points.

(PS: Back to the Alsatian 2003 vintage in general. It was one of the fastest growing periods on record with blossoming starting 2 weeks early compared to the average. One had to go back as far as 1540 to find similar conditions. The addition of acidity has been authorized on exception due to those special conditions. I am curious to taste some more bottle of that vintage, especially with some sources calling it a vintage of the century.)

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Categories: Alsace,France
  1. Wine Rambler Said,

    Again, thanks for sharing your impressions, Alex. This is a reminder that I don’t really drink enough Riesling from Alsace, despite this one maybe not being the most exciting specimen imaginable.
    Torsten

  2. alexis2 Said,

    Torsten, it’s not a bad wine, but it might appear a bit austere for some, especially at this matured stage and also if you compare it to the fruit and mineral driven German Rieslings.

  3. Vimpressionniste Said,

    Just wait until you open that Clos Saint-Urbain, Alex ;) The ’04 I tried last year was already pretty damn powerful, with amazing spice and a smoky, austere minerality. I can only imagine the ’03 will make your head spin!

    Speaking of the vintage, I’m not sure which sources claim it to be a great vintage in Alsace, mainly for the reasons you mention above. I just checked Wine Spec for example and they rate it the lowest in the last 10 years. I bet it’s Parker isn’t it :)

    PS: wtf? Decanter doesn’t have a vintage chart for Alsace?!

  4. alexis2 Said,

    But the Clos St Urbain I keep is a Pinot Gris… hmm maybe even more powerful then? I’ll keep you posted on that one.. Maybe I need a glass of Mosel on the side in case my hads spins too fast!

    But 03 was also rated pretty bad in Germany and now some Rieslings start to show nicely according to reports..

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