Post card from Alsace:
We spent a few days last week touring this hospitable and picturesque section of Northeastern France, where France and Germany meet along the Rhine, and where some of the world's most interesting white wines come from Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and a few other grapes grown along a narrow strip where the fertile river valley meets the wooded, gently rounded Vosges ("Vowzh") mountains.
Marc and Emanuelle Kreydenweiss met us at their small but modern family winery in the village of Andlau, where we tasted through many of the dozen wines they make using strictly "biodynamic" techniques, a somewhat controversial form of organic growing that adds what many might consider astrological theory to standard organic-farming practices.
Whatever the technique, the wines were compelling - and like most of the best Alsatian wines, they presented - along with ripe, delicious fruit - a firm structure based on a stony, steely minerality that showed marked and consistent differences among wines from specific vineyards with differing soils. Using a box of rocks (pictured above in our HTML/graphics edition) as reference, we could make out consistent differences in Rieslings grown in vineyards containing granite, schist or sandstone.
Did the wines taste like rocks? Of course not. But vineyard differences showed up in subtle variations of character as apparent as those you might see in, say, brothers and sisters: related by family but each distinct and individual.
Here are my tasting notes on three Kreydenweiss Rieslings from separate vineyards on different soils. Although this relatively small producer's wines aren't easy to find, they are distributed internationally and are worth seeking out.
Marc Kreydenweiss 2000 Andlau Alsace Riesling - Very pale straw color with a delicate, almost ethereal floral scent. Steely, tart and clean flavors, very long finish. Grapes grown in granite soil.
Marc Kreydenweiss 1999 "Aux Vignes" Clos Rebberg Alsace Riesling - Pale gold. White fruit aromas; lime and minerals, a faint whiff of attractive Riesling "petrol," balanced and intense. Grown in schist.
Marc Kreydenweiss 2000 "La Dame" Niebelsberg Alsace Grand Cru Riesling - Pale-gold color, with white-fruit aromas and rich, complex flavors, spicy fruit and steely acidity. Sandstone in the vineyard.
TRAVEL NOTES: We've moved on to Bordeaux after this quick Alsace visit, and I hope to have more detailed trip and tasting notes and photos online before long. Busy-ness and difficult Internet connections have slowed this process, but for future reference, this material will eventually appear at
Penfolds Brings Red Wine Recorking Clinics to the United States
Penfolds, Australia's most famous wine, brings the ultimate in after-sales service to the United States with its Penfolds Red Wine Recorking Clinics. In October 2003, Penfolds will hold two Red Wine Recorking Clinics – in New York City on Oct. 24 and Chicago on Oct. 28. Penfolds has been conducting these clinics in Australia and the U.K. since 1991. In the last 12 years, Penfolds has opened more than 50,000 bottles of wine for over 7,500 consumers and trade. The clinics are popular with personal collectors and those that trade on the secondary market.
At the clinics, Penfolds winemakers will open and test any bottle of Penfolds red wine 15 years or older. After tasting, the Penfolds winemaking team will top, recork, re-capsule and certify that the wine is good, if the condition is found to be sound. Penfolds provides this service at no cost to the customer. To register for the clinic email email@example.com or call 1-800-255-9966. To find out more about the clinics visit
Australia's most famous wine, Penfolds Grange, today holds iconic status around the world, and has been described by esteemed wine writer, Robert Parker, as a leading candidate for the richest, most concentrated, dry red table wine on planet earth. To stay in the know about events like the recorking clinics, sign up for the Penfolds quarterly newsletter – Work in Progress. This educational publication is full of tasting notes on new releases, including the much-anticipated 1998 Grange, information on the winery's history and heritage and events in your area where Penfolds is participating. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-255-9966.
The California Wine Club Goes Global!
The California Wine Club is about to embark on an exciting international wine adventure! Beginning June 1, you'll have the chance to experience a quarterly shipment of international wines that WON'T be found anywhere else in the U.S. From Italy and France to Spain and South Africa ... all over the world they've been discovering incredible wines from "mom & pop" wineries!
Quick facts to know: CWC's International Selections are imported directly. That means NO middle-man, NO distributor, BIG savings for you and wine selections that will not be available anywhere else in the U.S.!
International Selections only ship quarterly!
Each shipment will range in price from $50-$75 and includes all shipping, handling and import charges.
Included in each shipment is an engaging newsletter, Passport!
Case reorders will be available at a discount.
Join now, become a Charter Member and receive a free copy of The French Paradox and Drinking for Health.
Call 1-800-777-4443 to join. For more information visit the California Wine Club website at
30 Second Wine Advisor sponsorships are limited to established wine-and-food-related businesses with a track record of customer service. For information about delivering your message to our 25,000 international readers, write
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
During my time on the road in France, we're publishing The Wine Advisor only on Mondays. The Wednesday and Friday editions and Thursday FoodLetter will resume around May 21. Here are links to last week's edition and the archives:
A little of this, a little of that (May 5, 2003)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Monday, May 12, 2003