Visiting France's Alsace wine region, part 2
We had a close escape on our next visit,
to Clement Klur, in the beautiful village of Katzenthal. The plan
was that we should take a walk in the vineyards. Normally, this
would be first on my list of things to do for a winery visit.
But this would have been a group walk,
led by a comedy monk, lasting an hour and a half. In French, of
course. 90 minutes with a comedy monk? We quickly wormed our way out
of the group, and were fortunate to be able to snag a professional
visit instead, with Clement Klur. It was very good of him, because
this was the winery open day – the picnic in the vineyards,
organized by the Vignerons Independents across France – and the
property was full of visitors making merry (at least, those who had
chosen not to go on the comedy monk’s vineyard tour).
Klur’s mother and father come from
families that have been involved in winegrowing since 1600. Klur
worked the domaine for 20 years with his cousin, before splitting
off in 1999 to go in a biodynamic direction. He’s been certified
biodynamic since 2004. The cellar is round, and is constructed of
packed earth, with herbs growing on the roof. It is
‘bioclimatic’ and naturally cooled.
Klur says that there’s 30% more labour
involved in working biodynamically, so 7 hectares of vineyards is
enough for him to manage. He makes 17 different wines from these. He
works naturally in the winery, adding just a little sulfur dioxide
when he removes the wine from the lees (which are protective), and
then a little more at bottling.
Japan is a big export market, as are the
USA and Dubai. The wines are sold in the UK by Philglass and Swiggot.
Voyou de Katz 2011 Alsace, France A blend of Sylvaner, Riesling and Muscat. Fruity and rounded.
Textured and soft with nice melon fruit and a bit of citrus.
Gentil de Katz 2011 Alsace, France A blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. Fruity,
aromatic nose shows rounded melon and pear fruit. Deliciously rounded
palate is textured with peach and grape notes. Nice depth here.
Klur Pinot Blanc 2008 Alsace, France Nutty, appley and rounded with some apple pie character.
Textured and fruit with some mineral notes. Oxidative and complex
with apple, pear and nuts. 90/100
Klur Riesling 2010 Alsace, France Just 1 g/litre residual sugar, from granite soils. Taut citrussy
nose. Complex, mineral, spicy palate with nice density. Dry and
mineral with some creaminess. 90/100
Klur Riesling Grand Cru Wineck
Schlossberg 2009 Alsace, France Granite soils. Lively, mineral, fresh and vibrant with lovely
lemon and tangerine fruit, as well as a grapefruit twist. Lovely
balance and great acidity. 5 g/litre residual sugar. 94/100
Klur Cremant d’Alsace Sans Souffre
Ajouté NV Alsace, France Pinot Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc. Fresh, lively, citrussy nose
leads to a fruity palate with nice freshness. Stylish and a bit
Katz Pinot Gris 2011 Alsace, France Rounded, textured and grapey. Smooth with some sweetness.
Off-dry and delicious with nice melon and grape fruity characters.
Klur Pinot Gris Grand Cru Wineck
Schlossberg 2010 Alsace, France Mineral, smoky edge to the nose. The palate is lively and fresh,
with rich texture and a mineral nerve. Really interesting and
characterful, finishing very fresh. Grape and melon richness. 93/100
Katz Gewürztraminer 2010 Alsace,
France Lovely sweet-textured, grapey white with some varietally typical
lychee notes, as well as some herbs. Off-dry, rounded, yet fresh,
this is a brilliant effort. 92/100
Klur Gewürztraminer 2009 Alsace,
France Textured, sweet and powerful with bold fruit and lovely
minerality. Sweet and very bold with lovely complexity in a very
rich style, yet finishing fresh. 94/100
Klur Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Wineck
Schlossberg 2008 Alsace, France Herb tinged with grape, spice and smoked bacon characters, as
well as some lychee. Sweet and savoury. There’s a richness of
texture on the palate, as well as spice and mineral notes. Really
persistent finish. 93/100
Katz Pinot Noir 2010 Alsace, France Very pale pink. Some spicy, herby notes on the nose. Sweet,
supple palate is very fresh with fine cherry fruit and a touch of
herb. Textural, with some sweet red cherry fruit and redcurrant
notes. Beautifully judged with really fine extraction. 91/100
Klur Pinot Noir 2010 Alsace, France Pale cherry red. Very fine, fresh and light. Cherryish with a
bit of mineral and spice. A bit sappy with nice sweet, light red
cherry fruit and some stalky notes. Fresh and elegant. 92/100
Klur Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardive
207 Alsace, France Powerful, concentrated and textured with sweet lychee, melon and
grape notes. Some rose petal, too, as well as a bit of spice.
Intense, powerful, very sweet, but still fresh. 94/100
short film of the visit, including some stunning vineyard scenery: