expectations from old gewertzaminer?
I'm presently in zurich, and I just made a trip up to the alsace region today. I managed to pick up a couple of vintage bottles at the wolferger winery.
One of them is a 1990 Grand Cru riesling that I have high hopes for. However, the other one is a 1976 Gewertzaminer. It has a dirty, caked bottle, nearly illegile laber, the whole works. The bottle says (cuvee de 75th aniversery), and it was produced and bottled at : cave vinivole d' egushiem et environs (Haut-Rhin).
Does gewertzaminer hold up this long? Apparanlty 1976 was an exceptional alsace vintage, so I'm hoping that helps. It also has significant ullage. Transporting it back to the us will be a bit painful, so if there's few hopes, I might just drink it here instead of taking it back for a special occasion.
Secondly, any transportation tips/requirements to ensure that bottles aren't too unhappy for the trip back to the US?
Might have lost some of high notes with age, but still have some Willm Gewurtz 1983 that is my Thanksgiving wine and has been.
have no experience with gewruz this old or from this producer. two things in my experience do not bode well but you never know until you try.
1. alsace gewurz generally ages less well than riesling and pinot gris.
2. cave vinicle often indicates a co-op. co-ops were a lot more common back then but still often made for quantity over quality.
one other thing - i have had a lot of german wines from 1975 and 1976. both were very good vintages but one of them (can't recall offhand which but you could look that up) had lower acid and did not age any where near as well. you should hope for the vintage with higher acid.
in any case i would love to try one that old but would have a back-up available.
While some people like aged gewurz, I'm not a big fan, even when it is not spoit. Of all the Alsace grapes, it can get blowsy and alcoholic with low acidity - most of those things are not flattering with age. But your bottle might be fine if all the usual factors were present - primarily balance and good storage.
I ended up trying the wine this evening, and as expected, it was not very flattering. I'm glad I didn't carry it back. The cork could not take any pressure, so when I tried to stick in a corkscrew, the cork just collapsed into the bottle.
After quickly decanting the bottle into another container, I noticed a strong sour note, along with some brett in the nose. Half a glass later, the rest of the bottle was a drainpour. While not infected, the wine was thin and flat, with no real flavour to speak of. The colour was quite gorgeous though, approaching that of a fine congac.
While not tasty, it was certaintly an educational experience. Thanks a lot to you all for your advice.
I'm hardly an expert, but wouldn't "Cave Vinicole" mean that this was the local growers' co-op in Eguisheim? If so I would expect this to be well past its best, especially considering the ullage. I am not sure what you mean by "significant" but for whites I have found that ullage of more than 3cm or so is pretty risky.
1976 was indeed a great vintage, and if it was some sort of fancy cuvee for the occasion that's always a reason to be hopeful, but I think you're pushing your luck. If you do bring it back, you'll definitely be OK if you can get the type of styro insert that goes in a one-bottle shipper and just embed that within your clothes, and I've often flown with the wine just padded by my clothing and never had a breaker.