The 2004 Alsace Vintage
Date: Wednesday, January 17 @ 06:57:43 MST
Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus...
A Vintage That Brings Alsace Back To Reality
A rather mild winter with a lack of rain. Dry until spring, some growers start to worry about this drought. The flowering took place around mid June and was very successful on all grape-varieties. July was not too warm, August was rather normal much cooler than the previous year. September was nice, warm and dry which enabled all grapes to fully mature and to remain extremely healthy
We have to say that Mother Nature was quite generous this year after two consecutive small crops. 2002 was naturally short and 2003 was short as well for drought reason. The quantity therefore was in 2004 higher than average.
Green harvest was necessary this year but one has to say that too few growers did it!
Three growers only in Ribeauvillé dropped grapes! Within all our 30 hectares we were below the authorized yields. Our degrees are high, 12% to 14% for our Riesling, 14% to 15% for our Pinot-Gris and Gewurztraminer! The grapes which were picked early were very healthy extremely nice to look at, you could have eaten the entire cluster; there was not a single rotten berry.
Our Pinot-gris was picked on September 28th, 29th, 30th and October 1st around 14%-15% potential, very ripe and healthy when the official opening date was October 4th! Pierre Trimbach decided to do what is called a "pré-vendange".
Healthy grapes + ripe grapes = grand vin! When most of the growers started with the Pinot family grapes we were picking already Riesling and gewürztraminer. This year was not a year to wait and wait because it was an early ripening vintage. We had some rain during the harvest so Pierre Trimbach was very wise to start early, already in September in order to avoid the rain and more dilution!
The wines are fruity and very clean almost bright with shiny acidity but one will be careful when choosing since green harvest was one of the key for the success with this 2004 vintage.
This harvest was NOT a vintage for "Vendanges Tardives" or "Sélection de Grains Nobles" wines, the rain during October ruined our chances to produce such wines; as a result we did not produce any.
Overall 2004 is very satisfying and will bring us great wines in the league of 1992 (very good in Alsace) and 1999. Riesling and Pinot-Gris seem to be the most successful so far but wait and see...