I know of no better lesson in terroir than a three-hour tasting with Félix Meyer in Katzenthal, Alsace. I made my annual pilgrimage to see him during the first week of December to taste through all of his 2017s, and again I left with my head in the stars.
As usual with Félix’s Réserve cuvées, this wine is a blend of fruit from various parcels across all of his holdings (including no less than three grands crus in this case), planted in sandstone, granite, and limestone. The incredibly complex aromas soar out of the glass with an underpinning note of rose petal, the full-bodied and almost oily texture is classic, and the finish really sets it apart—long, stony, and fresh. Meyer’s wines will never leave your palate tired; you will always be craving another sip. I can name no other grower whose bottles more consistently provide so much drinking pleasure.
Félix is helping to redefine a new and drier style of Pinot Gris, surely the hardest style to manage well in the region. His third consecutive triumph is his best, in my book, and ample proof that he has unlocked the key to this challenging but oh so rewarding style. This is once again a complex blend from his trilogy of terroirs, aged in foudre. From the exceedingly fine and elegant nose to the creamy and lacy texture, the overall balance and touch, and its hint of salty freshness, this wine shows how understated, finessed, and downright glorious dry Pinot Gris can be in Alsace. Bravo.
Meyer’s Riesling in 2017 is a lesson in balance, with the grape’s trademark acidity wrapped in a cloak of delicious pulp. A plateau of sandstone marl above the grand cru Sporen in Riquewihr provides a stunning foundation for blending with his granite holdings in Katzenthal and neighboring Ammerschwihr (Kaefferkopf grand cru). The explosive nose manages to be powerful, bright, and stony simultaneously, and the palate sports the type of structure, balance, and salivating nervosity that you would normally expect only in a grand cru of the highest order.
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