I have long held Trimbach’s Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling in high regard. Indeed, the 1979 provided my seminal wine experience at the age of eight. My comment at the time was, “Wow, wine can taste of so many different things!” which I think is a pretty incisive analysis for a neophyte taster. I’ve had that wine many times since then I feel that my initial comments were spot on.
CFE is a bit more charming and accessible than Trimbach’s top Riesling, Clos St. Hune. Whilst that is quite linear and rigorous in terms of its acid/fruit balance CFE has a bit more fat and roundness. This means you do not have to keep it as long in order to have a drinking experience more enjoyable than one resulting in so much acid-burn pain you feel that Vulcan’s forge has moved to your stomach. That being said, as this wine amply demonstrates the wine is capable of long-term ageing and improvement.
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Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendanges Tardives 1989, F. E. Trimbach
There are hints of oxidation-derived baked apple fruit on the nose, but other than that I think this smells in rude good health for a 22 year old wine. The candied citrus fruit on the nose is fresh enough to let you know this is a late harvest wine, one with vim at that, and the clear expression of minerality is deeply pleasing. The aromas are sophisticated, classy and quite an impressive distance from being knackered and generally shagged-out. I love the palate, it is delighting me with a nonchalant ease. Seriously acidic, for sure, and together with the powerful mineral tang one gets the impression that this wine is not short on life and energy. The fruit is of a more candied than fresh demeanour, which is what you would expect from a late harvest wine, and shows very few hints of getting old or tired. Sugar doesn’t show at all here, but rather a scrummy savoury character that I find deeply engaging. That finish is a real winner – long and intricate. Sure, this is not a well-stacked teenage bimbo desperate to give you a close-range eyeful of her assets, yet I feel (as an ageing but indubitably dashing fellow) sometimes the more mature delights that age can bring deliver a more complete whilst still stimulating experience.