My wife’s parents visited us here in Basel recently. We took them to the picturesque village of Éguisheim in Alsace one day. It’s a short and easy ride away from Colmar railway station – well, ‘easy’ if you have a car , which we don’t. Buses do run from Colmar station, but timetables are sparse to put it mildly. We scheduled our journey to arrive in Colmar just before the only bus between early morning and early evening left for Éguisheim at 12.25 p.m. However, we still almost missed our connection because the bus that we thought went to Éguisheim was now going in a completely different (and unannounced) direction; the bus driver said we should take a different bus that was leaving at the same time but from a departure bay about 100 metres away.
This shambles was half-expected, to be honest. Buses in Alsace seem geared solely to school children and any random rush-hour commuters mad enough to want to take such mode of transportation. I had already prebooked a taxi back to Colmar for us at half five in the evening, as there were no bus connections back.
The village was worth the effort though. The last time I had been there was back in summer 1998 – riding through by bike during a day off from working at a vineyard in nearby Pfaffenheim. After a generous, hearty lunch at the Auberge des Trois Châteaux, we did what tourists do and looked around. I then popped into the vinothèque of Domaine Pierre-Henri Ginglinger to taste and buy three bottles of crémant and three of this, their 2013 Eichberg grand cru Riesling.
Pierre-Henri Ginglinger, Riesling Eichberg GC 2013, Alsace
Jean Ginglinger & Fils was the name of the winery I worked for in 1998. These Ginglingers are no relation, but they also apply organic principles like their namesakes.
Clear, light yellow. Very clean on the nose, with distinct citrus notes and a touch of flint and earth. A hint of lacquer. A little reticent all the same.
Lemon and lime with white peach on the tongue. Sure, it’s a dry wine by my non-German standards at least, but there is a generosity there that belies its modest 12.5 per cent alcohol. Barely medium in body, and still very young, clean, refreshing and pure – but with the suggestion of an inner, minerally core that augurs well for the future. Very drinkable now, but I think this wine will begin to blossom in five years or so.
Price? Under 16 euros. For a grand cru! (Although the next vintage, 2014, now costs 17 euros.) Whether we’re talking here of the same quality level as, say, a Grosses Gewächs in Germany is a moot point, but the wine itself has a lot of integrity.