Julien Schaal Releases His 2017 Flagship Grand Cru – Tasting the Schaal Riesling Rangen de Thann Volcanique…

I recently review Julien Schaal’s new Riesling Rosacker Grand Cru 2017 – a very impressive wine in its own right. There is no doubting the pedigree of the Rosacker vineyard which is home to one of Alsace’s greatest wines, Trimbach’s Clos st Hune. But when you want extra muscle power and frame, mineral austerity, age-ability and intensity in your Riesling, you can do no better than the Rangen de Thann Grand Cru vineyard.

Often regarded as the grandest of all the Grands Crus, this is the only Cru vineyard located on volcanic rocks. This volcanic soil, combined with a 60 degree slope results in tiny yields of hard-won fruit – but the results are worth the struggle and the concentration and depth of the Riesling wines produced can be extraordinary. This exceptional 2017 is a vintage not to miss!

Julien Schaal Riesling Rangen de Thann Grand Cru Volcanique 2017, Alsace, 13 Abv.

It may be auto-suggestion but when you first nose the Rangen Volcanique 2017 Riesling you can’t help but notice the incredible dusty, flinty basalt minerality that pervades the wine. Like it’s attractive sibling, the Rosacker, this wine is taut, restrained and initially very tightly wound with shy dusty stony aromatics and subtle hints of lime peel, grated Granny Smith apples and fresh fennel. The palate too is powerful, intense, compact and flinty but also shows off the grand pedigree of Rangen with incredible piercing lime cordial concentration, lemon bon bons and tart crunchy pineapple zest interspersed with pithy, phenolic tannin grip and a flinty, stony, saline, wet river pebble finish. Another fantastic vintage expression for Julien, this wine is built to impress and delivers on so many levels. Drink on release or cellar for 10 to 15+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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