I can’t resist puns, obscure references and just plain silliness. The winemaker Albert Boxler from Niedermorschwir in Alsace produces wonderful wines and we tried to track him down during Easter of 2013. We called twice at the premises – to no avail – but managed to locate a Boxler grubbing up Riesling vines on the hillside outside the village. It could have been Albert, or another relative, but it gave us an insight into the demanding life of a winemaker on these steep slopes of marl. He was certainly standing and clearing, however. Richard produced Albert Boxler’s Gewurtztraminer Reserve 2009 vintage (£22) which had a beguiling subtlety about it. The nose was not overladen with lychees and rose petals or the Turkish Delight trademarks of the grape but was quite muted with faint raisin aromas. The colure were yellow and deep with no hint of green. The was a rich wine, dry with a lengthy finish and definitely not flowery or overly aromatic. There was a refreshing acidity, a slight marmalade-like taste but it had a distinguished quality that demanded respect. It hadn’t got the rather flabby, obvious, too-eager-to-please characteristics of other Gewurtztraminers but stood firm and powerful. It would be a wonderful accompaniment to Munster cheese or a smoked dish so typical of the region. Richard is not a big G. fan but this wine convinced him of the varieties’ qualities, unfortunately relegating Pinotage to the bottom position. I’ll let him explain that.
[Richard: we tried and admired a Boxler some time ago so it was disappointing that on two visits to the premises there was no-one to sell us any wine. All out in the fields, as Geoff indicated. I’ve never been a fan of gewurtz, particularly those sold in this country which always seem overly confected. This was the exception, purchased from the Wine Society a couple of years ago. Very pure, not too sweet, powerful with a great mouth feel. Went well with some Ossau-Iraty cheese. So, pretty good but I’d still rather have – oooh – any other white grape you care to mention. Very happy for Geoff to take the bottle home to finish off. Nevertheless the coveted number one spot in my ‘most disliked grape list’ now goes to pinotage. Never had one I liked.]