What grape variety can produce the most bone dry of wines, go through that petrol emotion to the sweetest of desert wines. The answer is reisling , the grape variety that always seems on the cusp of greatness, yet has never quite attained it.
The grape originated in the Rhine area and now is grown all over the world. I think my favourites come from the Alsace area but I have enjoyed superb examples from Australia, Chile, Austria and even Switzerland.
They are also very hardy grapes, the Chanton family of Visp in the Valais grow their grapes at some of the highest altitudes in Europe, some 1000M and more above sea level. Their wines are delicious
However, Alsace is here my heart lies. I stumbled across a fab one at The Fernand Bise in Tallories. Surely one of the best restaurant views anywhere
The Fernand Bise should not be confused with the Pere Bise situated next door which is run by the fearsome Madame Bise. My wife and I have been ordered away from the premises just for looking slightly scruffy whilst reading the menu on the gate. Well, OK it was just me who was a bit dishevelled.
The wine I drank here was the Hugel Reisling from 2005. A great vintage year showing characteristics of the petrol and kerosene notes that can distinguish real quality.
A really full wine like this is not to be drunk too often so I will often look for something less aged such as the Trimbach 2008 pictured below.
The Trimbach family have been making wines since 1626 and the Hugel’s since 1639 so I guess they can be patient for a little while longer until reisling is recognized as the King Of White Grapes !
Both these wines are available from the wine society