It’s five years since our last Alsace offer – far too long! This region has long been a favourite of ours, and Domaine Meyer-Fonné rests in the pretty village of Katzenthal, which lies at the base of beautiful sloping vineyards of the Vosges mountains. We have visited the Meyer-Fonné family vineyard on a number of occasions in the past, buying from them whenever possible. Many of you will remember the wonderful purity of their wines. Their wines are organic, the grapes are picked by hand and vinification occurs in a mix of stainless steel and old foudres. The wines are left on the lees in old oak foudres, which improves complexity and mouthfeel.
The vineyard of 12 hectares has been in the same family for three generations and covers 12 communes, which gives them a marvellous palette of terroirs to craft the wines lovingly. The son of the current generation, Felix, returned to the domaine in 1992 to modernise the equipment, breathing new life into the wines. They pride themselves on their organic approach, with the use of indigenous yeasts, minimal intervention and no use of chemical fertilisers.
All of the family contribute to the running of the vineyard. The last time we visited, Félix’s father François, a very vigorous 78-year old, had been working in the vines since 5 am, only stopping at midday when the temperature reached 40C!
A tasting, with Félix’s mother Nicole is a great event and often comprises over twenty wines – spoilt for choice!
We are offering a Mixed Half-Dozen with one bottle of each of:
Gentil d’Alsace 2019
This is a wonderful mix of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat and Gewürztraminer. On the nose there are lovely rose petal and elderflower aromas, which lead into a clean, grapey wine with slight muskiness, delightful floral undertones and a long dry finish.
A fabulous aperitif, this is the essence of Alsace in a glass!
Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2018
This is made from a blend of Pinot Blanc and the Auxerrois varieties. The latter is commonly planted alongside Pinot Blanc in Alsace, and its origins can be traced to nearby Lorraine. It adds weight and a buttery mouthfeel to the blend. This cuvée is made only from the oldest vines, with an age of 30 to 40 years.
It has an old vine – almost resinous – honeyed nose. On the palate there is lovely mouthfeel with hints of honey and melon. There is good concentration, and it finishes with crisp green apple acidity, leaving a gentle tingle of spritz on the tongue.
Riesling Réserve 2018
This Riesling is made from specially selected plots. It has a greenish tinge and there is a lovely honeysuckle nose with the hint of petrol that defines quality Alsace Riesling. On the palate there is wonderful purity and concentration of nectarine fruit with racy lime/lemon zest undertones, and a mouthwatering crisp mineral finish.
This is a classic dry Alsace Riesling with great minerality and length, that cries out for Dover Sole or Sea Bass. This is perfect now but it will age well for another 5 years.
Riesling Katzenthal 2017
This comes from a haut-lieu – a single named vineyard, planted on granite-based slopes with lower yields. It has a deeper, slightly straw, colour and a riper, less evolved nose. In the mouth it has more weight, complexity and depth of flavour with a very long flinty finish.
Gorgeous now, but will age well over the next 8 years to become more complex.
Pinot Gris Réserve 2018
This has a rich, opulent honeyed nose with a hint of spice. On the palate it has great concentration, complexity and depth of flavour – honey, almonds, marzipan – with great balancing acidity.
A perfect match for foie gras or a ripe Camembert, or even Oriental cuisine.
Gewürztraminer Réserve 2018
More straw coloured, this has a wonderful nose of rose petals and honey. It explodes on the palate with flavours of lychees, grapes and Turkish delight. It is rich and opulent with some residual sugar that makes it taste decadently enjoyable!
A perfect match with good quality smoked salmon, and the more powerful cheeses like Munster or Epoisses.