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Tag Archives: Trimbach

  • Tasting with Trimbach

    Great Western Wine recently hosted a sell-out evening with Julien Trimbach at the Allium restaurant. Angela Mount went along to report...

     

    A tasting of Trimbach wines is not a bad way to spend an evening at the best of times, but teemed with not only some rare gems from old vintages, but also the exquisite cuisine of new Allium Restaurant chef, Rupert Taylor, it became a must do event in Bath’s social calendar.

    Trimbach is one of the most revered wine producers in Alsace.  Established in 1626, and with the young and urbane Julien Trimbach, the 13th generation of the family, hosting this spectacular evening, guests, many of whom have followed and enjoyed Trimbach wines for years, were in for a treat.

    Alsace, nestled in the foothills of the Vosges mountains, forms a long, narrow strip between northern France and Germany, and has a chequered history, having changed nationality several times between the two countries over the centuries and wars.  Trimbach are based in Ribeauville, a chocolate-box pretty town, with characteristic timber-fronted houses and steep flat clay tile roofs, in the heart of the vineyard region.  Using mainly Germanic grape varieties, Alsace has created a worldwide reputation for extraordinary wines with Riesling at its heart, but in a totally unique way.

    It’s always fun to break the rules; instead of a customary glass of fizz on arrival, we were greeted with a chilled Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve 2015, which surprised some and delighted many.  Pale ruby red in colour, fresh, bright and lively, this gentle, light red was packed with crunchy pomegranate and raspberry fruit, with a wild herb edge.  With its northern location, Alsace doesn’t produce much red wine, but the cool climate-loving Pinot Noir does perform well here, albeit producing far lighter styles than neighbouring and more southernly Burgundy.  Spot on with Chef Taylor’s irresistible canapes of tomato and smoked aubergine, sumptuous foie gras mousse spiced up with saffron and pink peppercorns, together with a tangy citrus cured morsel of salmon with ponzu jelly.

    Onto dinner; first up was a beautifully presented plate of plump, caramelised and pan-fried scallops, meltingly tender, with their luxurious, sweet texture; these were nestled on an intense creamy puree of cauliflower, and served alongside perfectly roasted and singed cauliflower florets, and a bright, tangy verjus to balance. Tom King, Great Western Wine’s Fine Wine Manager had worked closely with Chef Taylor to showcase the very best of Trimbach’s wines, and cleverly picked a grape variety, whose ripeness and more voluptuous style, would marry the indulgence and sweetness of the starter. Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2014 combined aromas of tuberoses and nutmeg, with a deliciously fresh, dry palate, with vibrant citrus to the fore, tinged with a hint of acacia honey.  This was served alongside Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle 2013, a masterpiece in the balance of richness and acidity, opulent and intense.

    The main event was inevitably going to be Riesling, accounting for over 50% of Trimbach’s production.  As Julien told us “Riesling is in our blood, it’s our heritage”. We were treated to a hedonistic quartet of Rieslings, with over 30 years between the youngest and oldest. Trimbach Riesling Reserve 2014 is but a baby, grown on the chalky, quartz and sandstone Gres des Vosges stone.  2014 was a fabulous vintage in Alsace and this little gem showed its promise, all nervy and fresh with candied lemon peel aromas and zippy acidity. If you have of this vintage, snuggle it up, and don’t touch till it’s at least a toddler, as it will blossom into a beautiful teenager and beyond.

    Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2008 is Trimbach’s signature wine, produced from two grand crus vineyards, with vines averaging 45 years in age. This is an extraordinary wine from a vintage which produced wines of purity and precision.  This wine, despite its 9 years, is still in its youthful, nervy thoroughbred stage.  Intense, rich, creamy and incredibly complex, it has a gorgeous richness of fruit, interwoven with grapefruit peel, Manuka honey and a smattering of citrusy sumac.

    Matching a main course that isn’t fish, to white wines isn’t always easy, but Rupert Taylor and his brigade stepped up to the mark with a fillet of Rose Veal, glisteningly pink, tender and delicate, served with a creamy sweet langoustine puree, earthily pungent girolles mushrooms and tangy choucroute. A wealth of flavours on a plate, whose different textures and balance of flavours worked seamlessly with the wine.

    Still on Riesling, wizard Tom King then waved his magic wand and brought out two wines from the cellar collection – wines that have been slumbering in the cellars for years, and are now starting to emerge from their chrysalis into rare and stunningly beautiful butterflies.  Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2008 is Trimbach’s flagship wine, produced on limestone soils, from a single vineyard, and only in the very best of years. As Julien stated ‘if Riesling is in our blood, Sainte Hune is in our heart’. This wine is extraordinary – racy, nervy, taut as a tightly-wound violin string, bursting with a myriad flavours of marmalade, lime and those typical petrolly characteristics, all bound up with outstanding purity and minerality – if you have some, it’s another toddler to leave to develop a while longer.

    Proving the point, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Alsace, and in particular Trimbach makes wines that can last decades, Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendange Tardive 1983, a 34 year old, very rare wine, produced in tiny quantities, from botrytised grapes, which are very rare from this vineyard – the epitome of elegance, redolent of white flowers, roses, rosehips and honey; rich, intense, multi-layered, with marvellous depth – mature, but still with trademark steely acidity coursing through its veins. A rare treat.

    How to follow such a majestic wine?  Chef Taylor finished off the evening with a Peach Bavarois, wobbling in its creamy unctuousness, accompanied by a tangy, perfectly spiced Schezuan pepper and bay leaf ice cream.  Picking up on the delicate, floral notes in the dessert, our final wine was Gewurztraminer Selection des Grains Nobles ‘Hors Choix’ 2007, amber in colour and steeped with rich nectarine, honey and candied fruit flavours – exotic, decadent and supremely balanced.

    Four hundred years on, Trimbach is still proving why its iconic wines are revered all over the world.

  • Trimbach Wine Tasting Dinner

    With Julien Trimbach at the Allium Restaurant, Abbey hotel, Bath

     

    Last night's tasting dinner with Julien Trimbach was a great success! With a full house of 66 people and a waiting list with over 10 strong.

    The Trimbach family started growing vines in Alsace almost 400 years ago, and we were delighted to welcome Julien Trimbach (13th generation) to present a tasting dinner of his family’s wines. Julien was a big hit. At only 25 years old his charisma and infectious enthusiasm for Trimbach was clear to see for all and he captivated his audience impeccably.

    The highlights included some super impressive wines including a true rarity of the Cuvée Frederic Emile Riesling 1983 that Julien Trimbach himself was very jealous that we had stock of, as even Trimbach do not sell this anymore, and the legendary Clos Sainte Hune – which may be the world’s finest white wine.

    The food by new Allium Head Chef Rupert Taylor was stunning and truly worthy of his impressive CV, which includes Michelin-starred Newbury Manor, two-starred Whatley Manor and Heston Blumenthal’s three-star The Fat Duck at Bray.

    All in all a brilliant night!

  • The Team's Tasting Selections

    Come on by the Great Western Wine shop in Bath to taste our latest selection of Trimbach wine samples and more, in-store for free... Happy tasting!


    Trimbach, Pinot Blanc 2015

    Producer: Trimbach, France

     

    Trimbach, Riesling 2014

    Producer: Trimbach, France

     

    Trimbach, Gewürztraminer 2014

    Producer: Trimbach, France

     

    Trimbach, Gewürztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre 2011

    Producer: Trimbach, France

     

    Trimbach, Pinot Noir Réserve Cuve 7 2012

    Producer: Trimbach, France

     

     

    Ramón Bilbao, Lalomba, Rosado, Rioja 2016

    Producer: Ramón Bilbao, Spain

     

    Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula 2016

    Producer: Kooyong, Australia

     

     

  • Tried & Tested: Nonya Chicken Curry with Trimbach Riesling

    The dish:

    I was told that Trimbach’s Riesling would be a great match with curry as it’s renowned for being a perfect partner with kedgeree. I thought I’d try it with a Nonya curry recipe, a style of cuisine particularly popular in Singapore which combines the heritage of Malaysian and Chinese cooking.

    I must admit that I was blow away by both the curry and the wine match: The curry itself was fantastic – a warming dish of fragrant herbs and spices with cooling, rich coconut. It’s probably the best curry I’ve ever made and one which was utterly complemented by the wine.

    The wine:

    I’ve tried the Trimbach Riesling before - it’s a bone dry, crisp, citrusy wine which makes a mouthwatering aperitif. But I wasn’t prepared for its complete transformation with food.

    The austerity and steely acidity of the wine fell away to reveal layers of complexity when paired with the spicy curry. The wine became creamier in texture, its lime flavours echoing those in the dish, while the fruit became peachy and tropical. I started to detect hints of coconut, coriander leaf and grapefruit on the finish along with... (yes, this was one of my tasting notes)...“ripples of pandan leaf”. I might have started to go over the top at this point, but I became convinced that this was the best food and wine match I’d ever tried!

    Rick Stein’s Chicken Curry Kapitan from Far Eastern Odyssey

    Serves 6

    Ingredients:

    1 Kg skinned boneless chicken thighs

    4 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut

    2 tbsp vegetable oil

    Curry paste made up of below, whizzed into smooth consistency in blender:

    • 6 dried red Kashmiri chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 mins then drained
    • 275g shallots or onions, roughly chopped
    • 2 tsp five spice powder
    • 2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 25g garlic, roughly chopped
    • 50g peeled fresh ginger
    • 4 fat lemon grass stalks, core chopped
    • ½ tsp shrimp paste
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

    400ml coconut milk

    2 x 7.5cm cinnamon sticks

    2 tsp palm sugar

    Juice of half lime

    Handful of coriander leaves – roughly chopped as garnish

    (I also added an orange pepper and some baby corn for some veggie crunch – these were cooked about 5 mins from the end)

    Serve with boiled basmati or Thai fragrant rice.

    Method:

    Cut the chicken thighs into thick strips. Heat up a wok or large fry pan over medium heat and add desiccated coconut – toast for a few mins until golden. Leave to cool then whizz in a processor, grinding finely.

    Add oil to wok or fry pan on low heat. Add spice paste and fry for five mins, turning occasionally. Add chicken and fry for further 2-3 mins. Add coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar and teaspoon of salt and simmer for 30 mins until chicken tender and sauce reduced and thickened slightly.

    About 5 mins from the end I added some orange pepper and baby sweetcorn, but feel free to add any veggies you like or omit.

    Add the lime juice and toasted coconut and simmer for 1 more minute. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice.

    By Chris Penwarden

  • Five reasons to adore Alsace

    Alsace is a picturesque region of France which has its own unique personality. Separated from Germany by the Rhine, and from France by the Vosges mountains, Alsace takes in cultural influences from both countries. The same mountain range provides shelter from the wind and rain, making this one of driest regions in France. And it’s this isolation which means there’s much to be discovered in this land of vinous delights...

    Unique and modern - although they’ve been making wine since 1626, Trimbach – one of the region’s greatest producers – has a style that is decidedly modern: bone dry wines (see exceptions below...) which are aromatic, fruity and complex. These are great aperitif wines on their own, but they truly come alive with food. 

    Not only are they a brilliant foil for the rich textures of the local cuisine of goose, foie gras and buttery sauerkraut, one of the world’s greatest surprises is just how amazing these wines are with modern, international cuisine and its influences from Asia.

    From the Turkish Delight fragrance of Gewurztraminer to the floral and lime burst of a great Riesling, these are wines crying out for a food matching contest. Next week we’ll show you how to make a Malay-Chinese curry with a Trimbach Riesling – mind-blowingly good!

    Great Value – great value doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cheap’, but these are literally ‘hidden gems’ that the world hasn’t cottoned on to yet. It helps that the wines are packaged in rather unfashionable long bottles and look ‘a bit German’. For those not in the know, this is an instant turn off, which leaves all those incredible bottles of wine for those who appreciate the beauty inside. For around a tenner you can get one of the world’s classiest wines – just don’t tell anyone, or they’ll be none left.

    Simple quality steps - The structure of Trimbach’s range is very simple: their Classic (yellow label) range is a benchmark for the region rather than an ‘entry level’, a glimpse of the high standards to come. For a few quid more, you get a Reserve wine (yellow label plus 'Reserve'), made using grapes from older vines with increased intensity of fruit flavour.

    Another step up is the Reserve Personnelle selection, known as the ‘gold labels’ – the grapes are picked from the estate’s best sites and are only made in the very best years. Again prices are fair – the mid £20 mark seems justified for the rarity alone, let alone the flavour. At the top of the tree are their Prestige and collection wines – these represent the priciest of Trimbach’s production and include sweeter styles which are revered as some of the best in the world. Expensive? Don’t ask...

    Simple Labelling - Alsace seems to have bypassed those impenetrable labels of neighbouring Germany and the often confusingly labelled wines from the rest of France - like those of Burgundy for instance. There’s no need to learn a heap of new rules and regulations, as wines are labelled with the grape variety, style and where it’s from. Simple eh? Well not completely...

    Forget the word ‘Grand Cru’ on an Alsace label – although it means something specific, and was created with the best intensions, critics argue that there are too many nominated vineyards of mediocre quality and many are just too big to guarantee any kind of consistency.

    As with any region, it’s best to get to know a great producer, and luckily here at GWW we have Trimbach to rely on. Trimbach rejected the principles of Grand Cru labelling long ago, even if they happen to have vines in the region’s top Grand Cru vineyards. One of Trimbach’s most sought after wines is the famous Clos Ste-Hune Riesling which comes from the Grand Cru site of Rosacker, yet there is no mention of its Grand Cru pedigree on the label. Their quest for quality at all levels, from Classic to Prestige, means that the name of Trimbach alone is a guarantee of quality.

    A range of styles - As we've mentioned, the wines are modern, crisp and aromatic – and great with food. But the sweet wines of Alsace are legendary, and it’s here that the labels make complete sense.

    The word ‘vendange tardive’ on the label indicates that the wine is ‘late-harvested’ so lots of sugar has accumulated in the berries. Sélection de Grains Nobles is a name used for wine from grapes that have reached even higher sugar levels, usually with a proportion of grapes affected by botrytis - that benevolent rot responsible for the flavour of the world famous sweet wines of Sauternes.

    But it’s not just a white wine producing area - there is also a tiny amount of red produced, and despite the rarity, the prices are, as usual, very reasonable. The locals serve these chilled in the summer - sounds like a great idea.

    So, give this undiscovered corner of France a go – you’ll recognise the grape varieties but will be astonished by the depth of flavour in these incredible wines.

    By Chris Penwarden

  • Wines In The Press

    Wines In The Press

    Fizz

    Camel Valley Cornwall Rosé Brut 2012

    Ridgeview Grosvenor Cuvée Merret Blanc de Blancs 2011

    This week Olly Smith suggested to readers that they should “Celebrate St George's Day with a glass of English fizz.” The Mail on Sunday's wine man recommended two GWW fizzes - Camel Valley Cornwall Rosé Brut 2012 and Ridgeview Grosvenor Cuvée Merret Blanc de Blancs 2011.

    Olly called  Camel Valley’s Rosé “spendidly summery” while saluting the “award-winning zesty glory” of Ridgeview’s Blanc de Blancs.

    As Olly says, “my personal collection of English sparkling wine stretches back beyond the year 2000 and I’ve been a believer for many years that we can produce bottles to rival the world’s best fizz.”

    Make English bubbly your go-to fizz this St George's Day - it's a great celebratory wine to toast the occasion on its own, but is also a brilliant accompaniment to that other British classic, fish and chips.

    White

    Trimbach’s Cuvée Frédéric Emile

    The Telegraph’s Nick Trend reported back on the joys of a wine-tasting holiday to Alsace in his article Alsace wine tour: In search of the world's greatest white wine.  

    He said he was, “full of anticipation because, about 20 years ago, I tasted a wine which, because it was so unexpectedly delicious, has lodged in my memory ever since.” The wine in question was Trimbach’s Cuvée Frédéric Emile which he described as “steely dry” with “an almost ethereal freshness.”

    Red

    Poliziano Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 2011

    Wine Enthusiast magazine has just given this trusty Tuscan a score of 90 points – no surprise for the folks at GWW HQ who have been shouting about it for some time now. Montepulciano is situated in the Tuscan hills on soils with a higher percentage of sand than the limestone-dominant areas of Chianti Classico or Brunello. In the hands of superior producers like Poliziano, the sandy soils and warmer climate here can create ethereal, deeply aromatic wines like this one. It’s rich and well structured, with an intense perfume of juicy, ripe, dark fruits.

    By Chris Penwarden 

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