Act can mean many things. It can be a call to action, putting on a performance, a legal document, a college assessment test, a short lived British synthpop band and in it’s latest addition to this multifaceted word ACT or Alsace Crus Terroirs – a group of Alsatian wineproducers concerned with conveying the terroir and soil of the region.
The group was officially formed in November 2015 but had one of its first public tastings in Colmar on Sunday. The goal is to help consumers learn about the Alsace terroir through organising tastings and spreading information. They’re very careful to point out that they wish to be a complement to CIVA, (the official organisation of wineproducers in Alsace more properly known as Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin d’Alsace) and not a competitor. All of the ACT members are however small, high quality producers, so that this break out is a sign of insufficient communication and openness within the cooperative-controlled CIVA is a matter of not only speculation but high probability.
And the ACT group does have a very fine line-up. Producers like Zind-Humbrecht, Kreydenweiss, Albert Mann and Barmes-Buecher have joined forces with Josmeyer, Weinbach and Bott-Geyl among others. The group had a brief appearance or tasting the day before the biannual Millésime Alsace, and we were there to try a selection of their wines (all served from magnum bottles).
2012 Riesling Grand Cru Hengst Barmes-Buecher
Rich golden hue, a somewhat closed nose with aromas of peach, star fruit and common yarrow. Slim mouth grip, long aftertaste and reoccuring aromas. Charming as it is, and quite ready to drink.
2008 Riesling Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg Meyer-Fonné
From granit soils. Lovely aromas of wet stone and stone fruit. Good minerality, sufficient sweetness and a nice, slightly bitter finish.
Very direct apricot aromas with mandarin and common buttercup. Dry start, integrated acidity and medium finish. A touch of phenolic unripeness.
2014 Clos du Val d’Eleon Kreydenweiss
Blend of Pinot Gris and Riesling. Direct aromas of split almonds, toffee and yoba skin with a rich, smokey nose. Fine rich acidity with a nice kick in the finish. Long, successively fading aftertaste with a good balance between fruit and structure. Definitely marked more by its vinification technique than its grape varieties, but still quite enjoyable.
2014 Muscat Goldert Zind-Humbrecht
Pale color. Aromas of grey pear and freshly turned soil. Medium plus acidity and a pleasing amount of dry compounds. Medium length. May very well develop into something fantastic, but it is way to young at this point in time to understand.
2012 Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg Kientzler
Rich, sunny aromas with refreshing elements of red currants. Juicy acidity and good minerality. An element of fresh goat cheese. Finishing aromas of gravel and ricotta.
2010 Pinot Gris Furstendam Albert Mann
Quite buttery aromas reminiscent of croissants. Good acidity, very tight and direct with elements of gooseberry. Easy to drink, with aromas of fresh apricots and lemon curd in the aftertaste. Lovely!
2013 Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Furstendam Domaine Weinbach
Quite timid aromas of elderflower cordial. A bit stiff, without impressive acidity. Long aftertaste. Just a baby. Needs time.
Pretty generic aromas of wet grass and blanched almonds. A certain bitter note, medium length, a bit boring.
2014 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Martin Schaetzel
2011 Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenburg Domaine Bott-Geyl
Direct aromas of rose petals and sugar snap peas. Quite slim with good acidity and a harmonious balance in the mouth. Crisp aftertaste of baby gem and fennel leaves. Well done!