De Elzasser producent Trimbach maakt ernst met de grand cru-classificatie. Die kwam er jaren geleden, maar werd niet al te serieus genomen omdat de kwaliteitsgrenzen te ruim werden getrokken en de grand cru-lijst to royaal was samengesteld. Deze keer gaat het anders. Trimbach stapt af van z’n cuvée M.en gaat meer aandacht besteden aan het terroir. Wine Searcher meldt:
‘In 1983, Trimbach famously stuck two fingers up at the newly inaugurated grand cru designation in Alsace.
Other respected growers – including Hugel, who were instrumental in setting up the classification – did the same. There were widespread accusations that the boundaries were too wide and the list of grand crus too generous.
As a result, the Alsace classification never really reached escape velocity. It was a defunct endeavor – not the INAO's finest hour.
Yet it appears that Trimbach is warming to the idea. In January this year, Maison Trimbach embarked upon the most dramatic piece of rebranding ever conceived in the estate's history. A much-loved signature wine – Cuvée M – was discontinued. Or rather, it shall henceforth be known as Grand Cru Mandelberg Riesling.
Cuvée M has been produced from grapes grown on this grand cru for years – although the consumer would never have known it. Historically, Trimbach never showed any interest in promoting the climat.
So what prompted this change of heart?
"I think we've reached a decisive point in our firm's history," says Anne Trimbach. "Modern consumers aren't interested in buying wines with nondescript labels like 'Cuvée M'. Terroir in Alsace is increasingly important, both for us and our customers. People want to learn about the vineyard differences and, therefore, referencing Mandelberg now makes commercial sense."
Today, there is a small but growing range of Trimbach wines that reference the vineyard site on the label. The first was launched in 2014 – a 2009 vintage bearing the designation Geisberg.
The family subsequently released another grand cru wine in 2017 – a 2014 vintage of Schlossberg. Even Hugel, a classification iconoclast, relented in 2017.
However, buyers and sommeliers are far from convinced that consumers will notice this cultural shift.