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The wines of Rolly Gassmann, Alsace

Alsace is real wine geek territory. You have to really know what you are looking for here because it’s not always easy to tell whether the bottle in front of you will be dry, sweet, or somewhere in between. This can change with vintage, too, so knowing your producers is not the only knowledge you require.

Fortunately, Alsace seems to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. Average quality is pretty good, although the more commercial wines can be a bit dilute because of the heroic yields permitted. But there is a growing band of top quality producers who are doing good work, and I reckon Rorschwihr-based Rolly-Gassmann belongs with this elite band. Like many in Alsace, Rolly-Gassmann have turned to biodynamics, but are uncertified.

The style is clearly one where there’s a fair bit of residual sugar left in the wines. In general, this works very well. I’m not sure I got the Vendange Tardive and the SGNs here: yes, the concentration and heroic levels of residual sugar are impressive, but I didn’t spot too much complexity in them at this early stage.

UK agent is Richards Walford (sales@r-w.co.uk), and approx retail prices are given in brackets.

Rolly-Gassmann Pinot Noir Rorschwihr 2003 Alsace
Alsace Pinot isn’t usually serious, but this one is. It has a nose of sweet, soft, rich open red fruits showing good elegance. It’s quite a complex style with good ripeness and a soft texture. Delicious. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£44.49)

Rolly-Gassmann Riesling Kappelweg 2003 Alsace
Lovely sweet, open lemony edged fruit here, with some richness and sweetness. The palate is rich-textured and soft with melony fruit. A rich, slightly sweet style of great charm. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£19.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Sylvaner Réserve 2003 Alsace
Lovely rich soft melony fruit, herb-tinged with great richness and softness. A delicious wine with a fat texture. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£12.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Terroirs des Châteaux Forts 2003 Alsace
Quite a bright, expressive yet sweet melony nose with lots of full, fat fruit. The palate shows lovely richness with sweet herby fruit backed up by some lemony freshness. Long and quite sweet. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£12.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Gewürztraminer 2003 Alsace
Very rich, sweet perfumed nose of lychee and spice. The palate is supersoft, rich and sweet. Quite a thick, almost over-the-top wine. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£24.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Auxerrois Roitleibel 2003 Alsace
Nicely defined rich spicy nose. The palate is soft, concentrated and sweet with a nice spicy edge. Finishes very sweet. A really interesting wine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£30.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Gewürztraminer Stegreben Vendanges Tardives 2003 Alsace
Super-sweet, rich, soft-textured wine with pretty, grapey fruit. Very soft and full with a jellied fruits character. Almost too fat, and this will need time to put on complexity. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£51.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Muscat Moenchreben Sélection Grains Nobiles 2003 Alsace
Sweet, grapey, peachy nose leads to a thick, pretty palate with rich grapey fruit. Very sweet and incredibly fat, but where will this go? Very good/excellent 92/100 (£89.99)

Rolly-Gassmann Tokay Rorschwihr Sélection Grains Nobiles 2003 Alsace
Complex grapey, spicy nose is full and intense. The palate is super-concentrated with masses of rich peachy fruit and some nice acid backing it up. A big wine but still a baby. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£67.99)

Wines tasted 01/06
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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