A remarkable Riesling EISWEIN - picked on 14 December - just 11 days before Christmas!
Eiswein is made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine, balanced with high acidity.
A tremendous amount of risk is involved. The grapes must be left on the vines for a greatly extended period of time to allow the winter weather to drop below freezing. Needless to say many things can go wrong during those nervous months. So Eisweins are rare, particularly so from Alsace. Only the Germans have made an artform of this exciting style but they are very expensive.
2001 Kuentz-Bas Riesling Cuvee Jeremy Selection de Grains Nobles EISWEIN
One of the discoveries of my current trip to France was this remarkable wine from Kuentz-Bas in Alsace. The wine is 100% Riesling from the vineyard of Letzenberg.
The frozen grapes were picked on the 14 December 2001 - just 11 days before Christmas!
The date of harvest is printed on the cork. When you consider most recent vintages are in September this is unbelievably late. The outside temperature was minus 10 degrees celcius! In addition to being an Eiswein this is a Selection de Grains Nobles meaning only fully botrytised frozen grapes were hand plucked from the bunches.
Like all Eisweins this displays great intensity balanced by substantial acidity. There are notes of candied fruits (pineapple, grapefruit, and papaya), botrytis and aromas of flowers and honey. It displays the ethereal character I associate with all Eiswein. For those technically minded the wine has 130 grams/litre of residual sugar, 5 grams/litre of acidity and an alcohol content of 13 degrees.
This is a remarkable wine which considering its rarity is not expensive at all. It is a serious wine not to be missed.
$99.95 Per 375ml bottle