Domaine Wassler, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru "Frankstein"
Domaine Wassler, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru "Frankstein"

Domaine Wassler, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru "Frankstein"

Alsace, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

Domaine Wassler, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru "Frankstein"

With great Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace, you can have it all. Take Domaine Wassler’s Grand Cru “Frankstein.” It’s dense and ripe, a masterclass in sumptuous texture. Yet it sings with that mineral and acid core, the deep sense of freshness, that marks out all the greatest Rieslings. It’s got a few years of age on it, allowing it to really start strutting its stuff, but has enough in the tank to go for a decade more. And while it goes toe-to-toe with bottlings from Alsatian legends like Zind-Humbrecht and Albert Boxler, “"Frankstein"” carries a sub-$50 price tag that makes it far more accessible than most bottlings of similar quality. After a summer of chiseled Mosel Riesling and spritely Federspiels, this is the Riesling to crack as the days turn colder and meals richer. Load up!

Alsace is an utterly unique place in the world of wine, a commingling of French and German culture seemingly untouched by time. You can see it in the cobbled streets and the timbered houses: tradition is deeply important here. The Wassler family maintains their own centuries-long tradition of grape growing, with current proprietor Matthieu Wassler now the seventh generation to call the tiny village of Blienschwiller home. Here, near the center of Alsace, they farm the same four plots they have for almost 200 years. Since taking over, Matthieu has carried on the family’s tradition while further refining their practices, even pushing the domaine toward organic farming.

The Wasslers most prized viticultural possession is the Grand Cru "Frankstein". It’s a gently sloped, east-facing site planted to the other “noble” Alsatian varieties (Gewürz, Pinot Gris, and Muscat), but where Riesling really shines. The soils are nearly pure granite, the topsoil so poor in parts that the bedrock is visible. The vines must plunge their roots deep in search of nutrients. Add to that the fact that the Wassler family’s holdings in "Frankstein" are now almost 60 years old and you’ve got a recipe for deeply concentrated, profoundly mineral fruit. While Alsatian Riesling – especially in the era of ever-warmer vintages – can sometimes tip into oily, overbearing territory, "Frankstein,” and Matthieu’s deft touch, keeps it all fresh and jubilant, complex but never cloying. 

After handpicking, Matthieu gently presses the Riesling from "Frankstein" into old 2000-liter oak foudres and allows it to ferment spontaneously. It finishes with a tiny touch of sugar that just provides some breadth to the fruit and aromatic uplift. In the glass, it’s a shimmering silver-yellow with hints of gold. The nose opens with a broad spectrum of fruit – juicy nectarine pit, white peach, grapefruit zest and lime peel, some more golden-hued creamed apple and pear notes rounding it out. Atop the kaleidoscopic fruit is an almost saline crushed rock tone. The palate is lush and rounded, leaning into the warm-climate fullness, but a profound spine of vivacious acidity pushes things firmly into the realm of refreshment. It’s fantastically expressive now, as it’s just starting to gain complexity from bottle age, and there’s no doubt it’ll offer some incredible mid-term aging in your cellar. But for now, as the days get shorter and colder, it’s hard to imagine a better night in than a hearty meal and a bottle of Wassler "Frankstein!”

Domaine Wassler, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru "Frankstein"

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