Albert Boxler, Riesling Sommerberg Grand Cru, Alsace, France, 2011 through Merchant of Wine

Albert Boxler, Riesling Sommerberg Grand Cru, Alsace, France, 2011

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Overview of the Wine
The small family domaine in France that works traditionally using techniques and savoir faire passed down across multiple generations is under serious threat today. Consolidation, technology, regulation, foreign investment, globalization, and many other factors (all in the name of progress), threaten the great agricultural tradition of winegrowing in France, arguably the world’s greatest winegrowing culture. Few domaines in France embody this way of life more ably and proudly than Domaine Albert Boxler in Niedermorschwihr. Jean Boxler, many generations removed from his ancestor of the same name that moved here from Switzerland in 1673, currently rules the roost at this humble yet incredibly exciting domaine. Intense and serious about his land, his craft, and his wine, Jean is the genius behind what are certainly some of the finest white wines in Alsace (and the world).

The family’s holdings are centered around the ancient village of Niedermorschwihr in the Haut-Rhin, dominated by the imposing granite hillside grand cru, Sommerberg. Jean vinifies micro-parcels within this cru separately, de-classifying some into his Réserve wines and producing multiple bottlings of Sommerberg from the different lieux-dits depending on the vintage. Sommerberg gives racy, intensely structured, very long-lived wines. Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc are the specialties of the domaine, Jean also produces one of Alsace’s best Crémants (and Edelzwickers), an incredible Gewurztraminer grown in limestone, and some of the most hauntingly pure Vendanges Tardives and SGNs in all of Alsace. If that weren’t enough, the Boxlers also own land in the powerful grand cru Brand, the ultimate counterpart to their holdings in Sommerberg.

The Sommerberg hillside terminates in Jean’s driveway, making it easy to basically live in the vineyards, ensuring exceptionally healthy fruit year after year. After harvest, the wines are vinified and aged in old foudres in a small cellar underneath the family home until bottling. Not much has changed over the centuries; not much has needed to. Tasting through the entire range of Boxler’s wines is ample proof of the fact that Alsace, along with Burgundy, is the source of the world’s most complex, exciting white wines, and will probably always be.

Grape / Blend
Riesling

Origin
Alsace, France

Tasting Notes
Grown in pure granite, grand cru Sommerberg gives us a broadly structured Riesling that takes further shape in well-seasoned, old foudres. It’s hard to imagine this beauty could taste any better than it does now, but I’ll be curious to revisit it in five to ten years to discover what becomes of its intoxicating perfume of sweet honeysuckle and sleek petrol.

91 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium-deep yellow. Very deep, complex aromas of ripe citrus fruits, underbrush, sweet spices and loam, with an obvious spicy, Sommerberg-typical kick. Fresh and tactile, with a rich mouthfeel to its yellow plum and ripe grapefruit flavors. Finishes full and long. This is a very successful 2011 with none of the diluted character that plagues some of the lesser wines from the 2011 vintage.

Product size: 750ml
From a private seller.

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