Alsace varietals – Rolly Gassmann

(May 13, 2015) — For quality wines from France, the appellation is everything – and the smaller and more precise, the better (e.g. Bourgogne -> Gevrey-Chambertin -> Chambertin). This applies everywhere in France… well, almost everywhere.

In Alsace, it’s the grape type that’s foremost on the label, along with special designations for late-harvest wines (Vendange Tardive) or highly-selected Botrytis-affected dessert wines (Sélection de Grains Nobles), similar to its counterparts in nearby Germany. And why not, since Alsace produces some of the most expressive and pure renditions of some of the world’s best grape types, especially for white wine and especially in the hands of the region’s top producers, including Rolly Gassmann. And yes, many now indicate vineyard location, but that has only been in the last 20 to 30 years when Grand Cru designations were introduced to recognize the best sites.

Like most Alsatian winemakers, Gassmann produces many different wines and this tasting will showcase some of his best examples, along with specific characteristics and differences that define Alsatian winemaking, including:

  • The unique flavour profiles of the noble grape types – Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois;
  • Differences in vineyard location, slope and exposure;
  • Differences in ripeness, especially between regular bottlings and late-harvest “Vendange Tardive” versions;
  • Differences in age, including how well these wines develop and mature over many years.

This will be a “led tasting” rather than our usual blind tasting, with the parameters noted above identified, explained and experienced in a more structured format. The wines will be (most identified by vineyard):

  • Riesling: 2007 Pflaenzerreben, 2009 Kappelweg, 2009 generic;
  • Gewurztraminer: 2002 Stegreben, 2008 Oberer Weingarten Vendange Tardive;
  • Pinot Gris: 2008 Rotleibel, 2005 Vendange Tardive;
  • Auxerrois (a rarity, even in Alsace): 2008 Moenchereben;
  • A most interesting and illustrative mystery wine (!).

With spring finally in the air, can there be a better time to experience some of the most pure, expressive and character-driven white wines being produced today? Come join us to learn about and enjoy these classics.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Using public transit is strongly encouraged.

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 North York Memorial Community Hall
Time: 6:30 p.m. 5110 Yonge St. (under library)
Limit: 88 people North York Centre Subway
Members: $58 (incl. HST) Guests: $68 (incl. HST)

Cancellations accepted up to May 8, 2015. See the event form for cancellation contact details. No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

Download the event form if you wish to mail in your reservation cheque.