The House of Trimbach
The venerable house of Trimbach, established in 1626 is the most well-known Alsace producer in the United States. While Trimbach is nowhere near one of the largest domaines in Alsace (producing 80,000 cases per year), they are responsible for over one-third of all the Alsace wine sold in the United States. Built up over twelve generations, the house of Trimbach today may well be making the greatest wines in its history. The dynamic brothers Trimbach: winemaker Pierre and marketer extraordinaire Jean have continued to push the already high quality of Trimbach wines to new levels in the late 1980s and 1990s.

While Trimbach produces a fine range of Alsace's top varietals, the heart and the soul of the firm are their two flagship Grand Cru rieslings: Cuvee Frederic Emile and Clos Ste. Hune. Due to inflexibility in the appellation controlee laws, neither wine can labeled as Grand Cru. The Cuvee Frederic Emile comes from two contiguous Grand Crus: the limestone rich Geisberg and the steep lower slopes of the Osterberg vineyard. It is a classically racy, snappy Riesling that starts off life very tight and austere, and takes years to unveil itself from behind its girdle of acidity. As the wine matures, the richness and power of this wine becomes readily apparent. It is clearly one of Alsace's greatest rieslings, and really quite under-appreciated amongst the world's wine lovers. The tiny jewel of a vineyard of Clos Ste. Hune is France's greatest white wine. I do not say this lightly or in jest. Montrachet may get all the publicity, but the depth, power, complexity, laser-like focus, and the brilliant track record for aging of Clos Ste. Hune cannot be equaled by any other white wine in the world. First bottled in 1919, this tiny three acre walled-in vineyard lies in the larger Grand Cru of Rosacker. The 35 year-old vines are cropped at levels a third less than the norm of Alsace Grand Crus. The wine often starts out life with a bit of "puppy fat" that gives the false impression of sweetness and early drinkability. However, six months or a year after its release the Hune begins to shut down for hibernation, not to re-emerge in great vintages for ten to twelve years. Thereafter, it will drink magically for another couple of decades. Even lesser vintages (somewhat of an oxymoron for this wine) demand time in the cellar. But when this wine emerges from its extended sleep, it is one of the wine world's greatest treasures.



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