Region: Sommerburg, Alsace Grand Cru, Alsace, France
Tasting Notes: An imposing grand cru, standing steep and proud above the town of Turckheim, exposed due south and planted in pure granite. Hot stone is a theme in this wine, not unlike Rangen, although less peaty, and similar in style to Ostertag’s Heissenberg terroir, if you are familiar with that wine. Brand is Boxler’s most powerful Riesling—deeply flavored, colored, and structured, built to age. These vines work hard to make a living, and the intensity of that struggle shines through magnanimously.
Rounding out this trio of masterpieces is Boxler’s towering Riesling Eckberg. From a steep mid-slope vineyard in the geographic center of the Sommerberg grand cru, in pure granite rising just behind the village of Niedermorschwihr, the Eckberg parcel will be vinified separately by Boxler in exceptional years. This vintage is notable for its power, concentration, and explosiveness. Also noteworthy is the fact that you can drink it now, as it is much more forward in style than the Dudenstein bottling we highlighted last month. Look no further. You have reached Riesling nirvana.
Pairing: Fried cod or fresh almond trout , fried chicken, glazed chicken wings, roast pork with mustard sauce, and creamy cheeses such as brie, camembert, emmental or muenster are delicious with this Riesling. This Spicy Chinese Mustard Chicken Wings Recipe from Jonathan Wu is a good little twist of the classic pork and mustard pairing that is typical with the Alsatian Rieslings. Bon Apetit!
About: With Riesling providing arguably its best expression, Sommerberg Grand Cru is a site that produces well-regarded examples of dry and sweet (late-harvest) wines, often showing their best with some cellar age.
The Sommerberg site covers 28 hectares (69 acres) of a hillside overlooking Niedermorschwihr. The slopes rise steadily at around a 45 degree angle to an altitude of around 400 meters (1310ft) and so are amongst the steepest in Alsace, rivaling even the volcanic hillside of the Rangen Grand Cru. Like Rangen, Sommerberg's aspect is due south, with its vines exposed to the ripening rays of the sun throughout the day.
The hillside where Sommerberg is located is composed of mica-rich granite (like Brand, just opposite), with the upper layers in an advanced state of decomposition. As a result, the topsoils contain a high proportion of granitic sand, rich in minerals not found in most other Alsace vineyards. Because of this crystalline scree, Sommerberg has been renowned as a wine-growing site for hundreds of years.
Albert Boxler is a domaine in France producing wine from under the Alsace, Crémant d'Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru AOCs.
The estate's vineyard holdings, located in the Haut-Rhin around the village of Niedermotschwihr, have been in the Boxler family since 1673, but it was not until 1946 that Albert Boxler produced, bottled, and labeled wines under the family name.
The domaine is currently operated by Jean Boxler, Albert's grandson, and is best known for its white wines from subplots within the Sommerberg and Brand Grand Cru vineyards.
Estate holdings are approximately 14 hectares (34 acres) of vineyard land with a wine portfolio that is almost exclusively composed of white varietal wines and blends. Primary grape varieties include Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc with small portions of Pinot Noir also produced. After a hand-harvest, grapes and juice are cold-settled in the winery prior to fermentation with indigenous yeasts.
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