Pierre Frick Riesling Rot Murel 2014
Winegrower: Pierre Frick
Delivery: June 2018
Pierre Frick’s wines are some of the most stunning and terroir driven in France. They are legendary for their incredible flavours, purity of fruit, minerality and terroir. These are living, artisanal wines of the highest order. Pierre has been at the forefront of the natural wine movement for close to 50 years. In 1970 he converted to organic farming, and in 1980 he became the first in Alsace to go biodynamic. His wines are as natural as they get; other than a tiny amount of sulphur at bottling, nothing is added, including sugar, which is unusual in Alsace due to its northern latitude. The alcohol levels he achieves are all natural, which means he has to let his grapes hang on the vines far longer to develop the sugar levels, but along with the sugar comes a whole lot of incredible flavours. Pierre’s wines are full flavoured and perfectly balanced; they have great acidity, a pronounced minerality, and they’re complex. Today’s offer is one of his great biodynamic wines; his Riesling Rot Murle is a perfect example of the beauty and elegance his wines achieve. The aromas alone are enough to make you want to enjoy a bottle all by yourself.
Pierre Frick’s family has owned their estate for 300 years. His focus is on his vineyards. These are made of a dozen different soil types that are primarily calcareous, and his holdings in Steinert, Vorbourg and Eichenberg Grand Cru each have their own unique microclimates. All work is by hand, only biodynamic preparations are used and every five years organic fertilizer is applied. Pierre mostly uses the same local grape pickers from harvest to harvest. He believes they’ll pick the best grapes from which he can produce the finest wines. He also believes this adds a cultural element to his wines which he feels is important. In the winery he shows a deft touch: whole bunches of grapes are pressed, the juice is left to settle overnight then 98% is used for fermentation with indigenous yeasts. To best develop their Alsatian character the wines lie on their fine lees, without stirring, for up to two years in large, oak casks, some of which are over 100 years old. No chaptalization, acidity adjustments or cold stabilization are ever carried out, only a little sulphur is added before bottling, and each year Pierre produces a couple of cuvées with no added sulphur at all.
Pierre Frick’s Riesling Rot Murle 2014 comes from a southwest-facing vineyard in Rouffach that has a calcareous rust coloured soil with high iron content on limestone slabs. It was matured on its fine lees for 22 months in century old oak and bottled in early August 2016. This wine, like all of his wines, has a metal bottle cap closure to guarantee no cork taint. He argues that all Champagne is kept under cap, some for a decade or more, prior to disgorgement. With only 3.1 grams of residual sugar per liter this is a dry wine. And because Pierre shows a light touch with the sulphur it has only 33 grams total per litre whereas the maximum allowable limit is 200 grams per litre. This wine is a deep yellow colour with gold reflections. It has a nose that is rich and developed – there’s a lot going on here – lemon zest, grapefruit, fresh mango, white flowers and dry hay; and these aromas aren’t sugary, they are complex and diverse. These follow through on the palate along with flavours of apple, Mirabelle plum and peach. The finish is exceptionally long with saline and stony, mineral overtones. This is a delicious, refreshing, silky, complex and elegant wine. Need I say more? Serve at 10˚ in white wine stems with this delicious halibut dish. Enjoy!