Monday, February 22, 2010

TN: Albert Mann 2007 Alsace Auxerrois Vielles Vignes

Auxerrois, by most accounts, is a minor varietal. But most of the noble Chardonnay by all accounts (if you go by volume) is pretty insipid. So, for less than an Andrew Jackson I figured the Albert Mann 2007 Alsace Auxerrois Vielles Vignes was worth a shot. It's from a cool region (Alsace), a good producer (Albert Mann), and old vines (Vielles Vignes).

Upfront in the bouquet has a mildly distracting roasted coffee note that could either be a byproduct of oak or reduction. I suspect I'm especially sensitive to the volatile thiol furanmethanethiol, though, so this is likely not going to bother most people. The nose also has plenty of pear and floral aromas. On the palate, the acidity is tingly and clearly pretty darn high. But there's a pine resin-like sensation lending body as well as a fruity, off-dry flavor. So ultimately the balance is there. Earthiness shows up on the finish.

Interestingly, David Schildknecht's review finds many of the same qualities, though Schildknecht's superior palate, decades of experience, and analytical approach yield a more complete note:
The Mann 2007 Auxerrois Vieilles Vignes smells of grapefruit and orange peel, fresh apricot, narcissus, and a fascinating smokiness and Chablis-like suggestion of chicken stock and shrimp shell reduction. Rich and silky on the palate, its slight suggestion of sweetness is appropriately countered by chalky, wet-stone, as well as savory suggestions of minerality and the faint bitterness of toasted nuts and citrus zest, but as the wine opens over time, subtly sweet peaches-and-cream and orange sherbet become more prominent. Enjoy this versatile beauty anytime over the next 2-3 years.
This is not quite a re-buy for me, but it was a good palate educator for the price. It also went well with goat cheese. Yum! This is a good reminder that David Schildknecht is one of the best critics out there, especially when it comes to cool climate wines. It's unfortunate that his intellectual, thorough approach is often buried in the noise of the pretentious, blustery style of his peers.

Pros: Aromatic, Fresh, Food Wine
Cons: Toasty Thiol Aroma
Decant: No
Price: $18 from Wine House
QPR: Fair (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)

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