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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Alsace Grand Cru: Rangen, Rosacker & Schoenenbourg

Pictured above is the Rangen grand cru, in Alsace. It really looks grand cru somehow, no? Take a look at a picture of La Tache: no drama, no flair, kinda boring, lol... but the wine in the bottle does the talking, not the angle of the slope, and wines from vineyards like La Tache and Rangen tend to have a lot to say.

We've featured Julien and Sophie Schaal's Schoenenbourg twice in the past year. Once in a Friday blind tasting (with guess after guess of Sauvignon Blanc, which is par for the course when we pour dry Riesling blind), and once at our Quatorze Juillet tasting. On both occasions it garnered many fans; intensely flavorful, distinctly mineral, deeply textured, and, perhaps most importantly, bone dry, it really engages the palate, there's a lot to like. This beauty is also a great value for Alsace, let alone a fabulously delicious Alsace grand cru worth cellaring for a decade or two. In fact, finding an excellent current release Alsace Grand Cru stateside for $25 is almost unfathomable. Somehow, this wine is not sold out, so we're gonna tell you about it again, and while we're at it we'll offer two more grand crus from the so very obviously very talented Julien and Sophie Schaal.

Julien Schaal Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 'Gypse' 2021 - $25

Simply irresistible at this price, but I had my doubts at first. How could good Alsace grand cru be so inexpensive? Well it's not just good, it's excellent. As the name of this wine, 'Gypse', indicates, the Schoenenbourg grand cru has soils informed by gypsum. My note: Aromas of stale white bread and clean smoke blow off to reveal gorgeous lime, tangerine, crunchy apricot, a little honeysuckle and herbs... Bone dry, with bracing acids, subtle silky ripeness, but no easy sweetness, enveloping and coating through the very stony finish. Gorgeous dry Riesling here, and rather delicate, airy and electric for Alsace Grand Cru. Love this. Should be worth following 10+ years.

Julien Schaal Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker 'Calcaire' 2021 - $30

There's an infamous wine that comes from the Rosacker Grand Cru. It's called Clos Ste. Hune, and it's truly legendary, often referenced as the greatest dry Riesling in Alsace, and also by far the most expensive (current online average $419!!!). As the name 'Calcaire' indicates, this cru is heavy in limestone.

Julien Schaal Riesling Grand Cru Rangen 'Volcanique' 2021 - $40

Even though this is the most expensive of the trio, it may be the best value. Rangen lives in my head as the source of some of the greatest dry white wines I've ever tasted, the Rangens from the uber-famous Zind-Humbrecht estate. In my mind, finding a Rangen for less than $75 is a coup. Rangen is one the most vaunted names in Alsace, shoulder to shoulder with any vineyard in the region. As the name of this wine indicates, Rangen has soils derived from volcanic soils.

Each of these wines is a superb value. Each of them is bone dry. Each of them comes from organically farmed vines. Each will be a brilliant illustration of Alsace terroir.

A tasting designed illuminate the distinctive flavors imparted by differing soils in three organically farmed Alsace grand crus would usually run you close to $200, if not $300. One bottle of each of the wines above will come to under $100. We suggest you stage a blind tasting for your friends. Be prepared for nobody to guess Riesling!

As usual these wines will mix with others to get 10% off 6 bottles, and 12% off 12 bottles. If you want a mix of 6 bottles of the wines above, we'll knock 15% off your order.

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