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The wines of Domaine Schoffit, Alsace
66- 68 Nonnenholzweg (Par Rue des Aubepines), 68000 Colmar, France
Tel: +33 (0)3 89 24 41 14

I'm going through a bit of an Alsace phase at the moment, so I was interested to try this range from Schoffit at the Decanter Rising stars tasting. I have to admit to coming away a tad disappointed, though: while these wines are mostly very good, they lack that piercing minerality and sense of place shared by many of the very best Alsatians. Part of this may have to do with the tricky nature of the 1999 vintage (which most of these wines were from); it might also be a style issue. A major frustration was that the wines were being kept on ice (not just in an ice bucket, but submerged in a mixture of water and ice, which is by far the most efficient method of chilling bottles), and were at approximately 2 °C! Now I have no problem being served a glass of chilled Chardonnay in a bistro on a hot day, when it has time to warm up a bit in the glass, but at a wine tasting with serious wines it's ridiculous. It is very difficult to assess wines properly when they are freezing cold. For this reason I'd have to reserve judgement on some of these wines; I'd like to try them again under different, more favourable circumstances. Nil points, Heyman Barwell Jones (UK agents for these wines).

Chasselas 1999 Cuvée Caroline Vieilles Vignes
Chasselas isn't too common in Alsace, but this is an impressive effort. The floral, slightly spicy nose leads to a dry, crisp palate with good flavour. This would make a good food wine. Very good

Riesling 1999 Cuvée Caroline
Fresh lemony nose. Lively palate has racy acidity and a touch of residual sugar. Very good.

Pinot Blanc 1999 Cuvée Caroline
A lovely rich wine in a slightly sweeter style; spicy and full. Good/very good

Muscat Cuvée Tradition 1999
Nice grapey perfumed nose. It's actually quite a rich style, with some residual sugar. Very good

Gewürztraminer Cuvée Caroline Harth 1998
Deeper coloured, this has a highly perfumed floral nose. The palate is fat and a bit sickly, with sweet lychee flavours. Interesting but a bit odd. Very good

Riesling Grand Cru Rangen Clos St Théobald 1999
Deep yellow/gold colour with a sweet honeyed nose. The palate is soft, ripe, grapey and very forward. It's reasonably complex, but I'm not keen on the style. Very good

Tokay Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen Clos St Théobald 1999
Deep yellow/gold colour. The grapey, spicy, slightly smoky nose leads to a rich, concentrated, sweet palate. A bit unbalanced for my palate, but still very good.

Tokay Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen Clos St Théobald 1998, Selection des Grains Nobles
Deep gold colour with a sweet spicy nose. The palate is huge and very sweet, with intense, complex flavours and enormous residual sugar. Possibly just a bit too rich and sweet? Very good+

Tasted May 2001 at the Decanter Rising Stars Fine Wine Encounter
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