Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Allimant-Laugner True to Form in Alsace

A couple of weeks ago I had dinner at Flora with the fresh-faced Nicolas Laugner of Alsace's Allimant-Laugner, a family-owned 25 year-old domaine in Alsace.

Nicolas Laugner
I wasn't that familiar with their wines even though I've visited Alsace a couple of times in the last ten years or so. I have seen their cremant sparkling wine around, and it seems to do well in Northern California, where they are imported by Vigneron Imports. I'm told the rose cremant is in most Whole Foods stores in the region.

I discovered that both the cremant and the other wines were right up my alley stylistically: precise, mostly very dry and refreshing.

So many Alsace producers have drifted toward off-dry, ultra-ripe wines in recent years that it's become common to see white wines with a good deal of residual sugar even though traditionally Alsace was known for very dry wines. With some of the sweeter versions getting better ratings, it's not surprising that many wineries emulated a more bombastic and sweeter style. Personally, I find the sweeter wines of Alsace flat and cloying.

There are exceptions. Trimbach is one major house that is sticking resolutely to a very dry style. I would say that Allimant-Laugner is in the same boat, or at least sticking to a relatively dry style, and I like the wines.

The Allimant-Laugner Cremant d'Alsace Rose ($18) is made exclusively from Pinot Noir. It's leesy, deep and quite good, with keenly-focused floral aromas and pretty strawberry and citrus notes (89)

The 2012 Allimant-Laugner Pinot Noir ($17) is really impressive with a hint of forest floor and mushroom in the nose and fresh, unwooded fruit it is a versatile gem for a great price. (89)

The 2013 Allimant-Laugner Riesling ($19) shows lime blossom, white peach and lime zest notes and green apple flavors. It's super fresh and precise (90)

Even better is the 2012 Allimant-Laugner Praelatenberg Grand Cru Riesling ($23) with direct granite and gneiss mineral notes, a richer, waxier texture, lemon-lime and star fruit flavors. (92)

I also enjoyed the 2010 Allimant-Laugner Muscat ($20) made in a fairly dry style with just a hint of residual sugar. It's delicate and fragrant with jasmine, lavender, green apple and pear notes. It's the kind of wine that goes amazingly well with an Indian or Thai curry dish.

The 2013 Allimant-Laugner Pinot Gris ($17) is ripe and spicy with baked apple flavors that drift just a bit more toward the riper, off-dry spectrum, but it's still well done.

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