1989 Trimbach Clos Ste. Hune Hors Choix Vendanges Tardives 


The notion of dozens of wine lovers packed close together to exchange and share bottles of wine now seems totally alien. But last November 2019 BC (Before COVID-19), Jean Trimbach himself proffered a fabulous bottle of 1989 Clos Ste. Hune Vendanges Tardives Hors Choix at a private La Paulée in Beaune. It was a pertinent reminder that this Alsace icon unquestionably belongs among the great white wines of the world. Trimbach made two cuvées in this botrytis-packed year, the Hors Choix picked from the oldest vines a fortnight later than the others.

The last time I drank the 1989 was at God-knows-when-o’clock at Ernie Loosen’s post-VDP auction soirée in 2008, and it has hardly altered since. Limpid in hue after three decades, it is blessed with a heavenly nose of honeysuckle, clementine and hints of wild honey, later joined by tinned apricots and hints of marzipan; all delivered with scintillating precision. The palate feels quite rich, but the acidity effortlessly counterbalances its precocity. The residual sugar (46gm/L) deceptively seems much less than that figure. There is so much energy and raciness in this Vendanges Tardives, an irresistible Riesling that begs you back for one sip after another. If this Hors Choix performs at this level at 30 years of age, then I envisage it still cruising at high altitude in another 30 years. By then, one hopes La Paulées will be possible once more. 97/Drink 2020-2060.