CFE was the first fine wine I tasted – when I was nine I tried the 1979 vintage and commented, “Wow, wine can taste of so many things.” So even back then my pronouncements on wine were correct. Given my decades of happy experiences with this wine I was rather enthused when it was intimated we pop one from the great 2002 vintage.
However, now I’ve tasted it I am a tiny bit worried about its stage of evolution, even though it has been impeccably stored since its purchase. I have the feeling that cellar temperatures in Alsace have increased in recent years, I seem to recall that winters there have been less bitterly cold than once they were. They have certainly experienced some warm summers of late. Could its initial elevage in a slightly warmer environment result in accelerated ageing of the wine? Do enlighten me if I’m talking a poxy load of pants.
Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2002, F E Trimbach
This is really rather mineral on the nose, a wonderful and impressively complex rich earthiness that pleases me no end. What does not please me is the distinct note of slightly dirty, baked-apple oxidation. There is also more petrol character here than I would expect from an eight year old CFE. This smells distinctly forward; it is still complex and interesting to the Rieslingophile, but indubitably forward. Wow, love the acidity; it slices through all the other characters on the palate like a nutcase who drops in on his Member of Parliament armed with a sword. I’m a much less petrifying type of loony. There is the kind of citrus fruit you’d hope for with a Riesling, and it fizzes with sophisticated stoniness, but again there is that worrying character of slight oxidation. I really don’t expect what is, as far as previous vintages have shown, quite a young CFE from a top-drawer vintage to need drinking up as exigently as this bottle does. Sure, it is sophisticated and shows definite style, but we shouldn’t be in a position of needing to drink this for many years to come – I’ve recently had 1995s and 1996s that have shown less development. If you have some I’d suggest giving a bottle a try – it might just be this bottle, even though it has been carefully stored since it was purchased direct from Trimbach, but you would be wise to check.