“KRISTA! OMG Krista, it’s Julien from Somm! He is here – remember from the Alsace Vineyard in the documentary?”
I heard Sarah yelling from outside the tasting room where I was purchasing my very worshipped bottle of Clos Sainte Hune for a special occasion. Clos Sainte Hune is a three acre plot of land only, and exclusively planted of Riesling, located in the heart of Grand Cru Rosacker, in Hunawihr. It was pricey but for our final class trip I wanted something memorable. We had just finished a tour and tasting at Trimbach Vineyard – a very famous and iconic winery specializing in Riesling with many Grand Cru vintages.
Everyone was staring at Sarah as she came barging into the room, the messy bun on top of her head bouncing around showcasing her excitement. “Sorry you all, I am like a bit starstruck, I love the SOMM documentaries and he is here.” I started laughing.
“Hang on, did you talk to him, or is he in the distance?” I asked as I signed the receipt, and did a double take at the price I was paying.
“He is outside and said hi, probably wondering who and what this crazy American woman dressed in all black is yelling about”
“Let’s get a picture with him!” I declared and instantly started feeling like we were idiot tourists and our wine class tribe was going to disown us very soon. I didn’t really care, Sarah and I lived for stuff like this, and I wanted to condone her enthusiasm.
I believe it was in the second documentary where they interviewed a winemaker and his son from Alsace and Julien was this nice young guy from the show that would be eventually taking over the entire vineyard. That encounter with Somm star was one highlight of several in Alsace, France.
It was May and we were on our final adventure as a class.
Alsace Rieslings are mostly very dry, broad wines with palate coating flavors that lean towards gunflint, steel, and minerals with a limey sort of citrus. Riesling is known to be grape sensitive to its terroir, and this is as true in Alsace as it is elsewhere. Grown in a merely decent vineyard it makes merely okay wine. Extraordinary riesling requires near-perfect vineyard conditions. No discussion of great Alsace riesling could fail to include Trimbach’s Clos Sainte Hune. – (Karne McNeil, The Wine Bible)
We had arrived the day before and settled into the town of Riquewihr. Historically, this town served as a wine hub and trading center for Alsatian and German wine. It was one of the only villages not badly damaged in World War Two. It was charming as all get out, with its cobblestone streets that were interlaced with half-timbered winemakers’ shops and tasting rooms. All of the buildings were picturesque, storybook worthy of Hansel and Gretyl. It had a very medieval feel, and there was a beautiful stunning mountain backdrop through every slanted angle of the town as you looked down the rows of alleyways and renaissance homes. Ruins from the 13th century outlined the village serving as walls of the town. It was rumored that this town was the inspiration for Belle’s hometown in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I was taking so many photos, as I couldn’t get over it – this was equivalent to Wine Themed Disneyland for Adults.