2015 Leaning Back in Time from Anders Frederik Steen – David’s Wine of the Week

2015 Leaning Back in Time from Anders Frederik Steen – David’s Wine of the Week! Made from the biodynamic grapes of Stephane Bannwarth, from 50 year old vines in Obermorschwihr, Alsace.

There is so much going on here, it warrants a chapter in a book to lay it all out.

Anders started as quite a nomadic winemaker from his base way up north in Copenhagen. First as sommelier at Noma and Manfreds, then work got going further south with Jean-Marc Brignot, when he was still in the Jura, and with the Bannwarths in their semi continental Alsace vineyards. Anders and family are now settled in Valvignères in the Ardèche, making his main set of cuvées at Le Mazel domain.

But the work still goes on with his winemakers network.

This fabulous and interesting wine comes from the baking Alsace summer of 2015. This is wine from grapes and just grapes. Your zero zero approach. From limestone scattered marl on rolling hillsides below the Vosges forests.

Fermentation started in fibre tanks left outside for six months to settle and pose in the Alsace winter. That’s my idea of temperature controlled fermentation. Then the juice was brought into the Bannwarth’s cellar and moved to well aged barrels. I suspect a bit of secondary fermentation kicked in with spring temperatures. Two years passed with little interference and lots of checking and tasting. The barrels weren’t topped up, so there is a well defined oxidative tram to the wine.

We opened it in San Francisco. The wine was just off clear and a bit opaque. Making you think it will have volume, and it does – big style.

A bit oxidative on the nose and ripe, ripe white fruit. Lovely weight in the mouth, rich textures with super ripe pears. Looking for a bit of nuttiness but the rich ripe fruits chased it away. Great energy and tension, with acidity to balance the ripeness. Nice lingering bitter finish. The residual sugar is only 2 grams, but Anders texted me to say the memory of sugar is still there. This is terroir wine.

That terroir is based around these Alsace vineyards to the south of Colmar where Frick, Schueller, Ginglinger and Bannwarth are defining a particular natural wine style that sits with hot summers and freezing winters in the cellars.

It’s great to see an “outsider” like Anders, adding another piece to this puzzle.

This is another part of modern Alsace, painted on that canvas by an artisan winemaker with a wide range in his attitude and approach.


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