The signature taste of Clos Ste Hune Riesling is pine needles but this is no tranquil afternoon in the Black Forest; more like non-stop “pine needle” green strobe light action at a rave. Trying to describe it is like waving your hand through laser light; the complex flavours meld and disappear in a green light of spicy lime and steely tang. Let the music lift you up. It would have been fortunate to have only one Clos Ste Hune, but at yesterday’s Enotria tasting with Jean Trimbach at Bistro du Vin Soho, we were treated to three vintages. Everybody raves about Clos Ste Hune Riesling from Trimbach; and happily, this wine lives up to the hype.
The 2005 Clos Ste Hune is still felt very young with lemon peel of preserved lemon and lime cleansing the palate. Sure, you can drink it now, but it will develop into something incredible over the next ten years. But can you wait? The 2004 Clos Ste Hune was more developed with spicy, kaffir lime, very cool, smooth, spherical shape where flavours all melded together (since E Peynaud wrote he talks in shapes when describing wines, I feel justified saying this!) and a superstar finish that keeps evolving (in perfume and taste) long after the wine had disappeared. The 1985 Clos Ste Hune was a difficult vintage, says Jean, but it is now in peak drinking condition with beautiful “sweet” patchouli perfume and nougat, leading to a complex light show of pine needles, sechuan pepper, toffee, coffee bean and cassis. All melding together beautifully so that the taste, even after leaving the glass on the table, was like the quiet ride home in a cab after leaving a club and still hearing the music in your ears.
A Question about the Petrol Note in Riesling
I asked Jean about the note described as “Petrol” often found in Riesling – is it a fault? In his own passionate style, he answered my question with more questions – “What is a “fault”? What is “petrol”? What is “minerality”? Is reduction a fault? All this has yet to be proved” (and he talked about white Burgundy pre-mox, whether it is from using older presses or not). Jean went on to say, Riesling needs a soft and gentle press. In colder vintages, when the fruit is not as balanced with the minerality, there is generally more taste of petrol notes. It could be seen as a “fault” in reduced, younger wines, but it is also often found in good, mature Riesling where it is not a fault. Personally, I love this taste – but what do you think?
PS. If you are unfamiliar with Trimbach, these are all dry Rieslings from Alsace.
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