FLORIAN BECK-HARTWEG - Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

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D@vid Bu3ker
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FLORIAN BECK-HARTWEG - Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#1 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 24th, 2011, 6:57 am

Florian,

Thank you for stepping in as a guest commentator.

I am a long-time fan of the floral wines of Muscat, but I see this grape less and less as time goes on. It is now even difficult to find entry-level Muscat wines. Do you see this lovely grape dying out in Alsace? If so why? Do you make Muscat?
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#2 Post by Florian BECK-HARTWEG » January 24th, 2011, 9:46 am

Hello David,

Muscat only represents 2% of the alsacian production: sure that it is not the most well known. That's maybe why you see it less and less: it is very difficult to export because nobody knows it out of Alsace. That's why most of it is consumed here in Alsace, very agreable as an aperitive or with asparagus. So I'm not sure that production is decreasing significantly, even if it is more difficult for you to find it.
It is a pity because I think that Muscat can be very interresting: it can be a simple but very floral and balanced wine, very easy to enjoy. And some of the best producers also produce great terroir wines with this grape: Goldert is a very good terroir for Muscat, for example Zind-Humbrecht produce a great muscat there. Sylvie Spielmann also produces a great Muscat reflecting Bergheim's terroirs, with a nice saltiness and almost dry.

I don't produce Muscat: it wasn't a tradition here, my grandfather and my parents never had a Muscat vineyard. I think it could be interresting on our granitic grand cru FRANKSTEIN, which could give very elegant Muscat. But I already produce so much different type of wines that I prefer to focus on these instead of doing one more!

Florian
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#3 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 24th, 2011, 1:02 pm

I too would like to see more Muscat from Alsace. Can you tell us why your house focuses on Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer? Is it a decision of terroir or maybe some other reason? Why no Riesling for instance?
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#4 Post by Florian BECK-HARTWEG » January 24th, 2011, 2:32 pm

Cris,

We do produce a good proportion of Riesling also.
For Muscat, as I told above, it is more a question of tradition, I think that our terroir could be appropriate for it.
For the other grape varieties, we choose regarding the type of terroir. On our granitic soils, I think that the best grape varieties are Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. These are the varieties that give us the best expression of the granite, especially on the Grand Cru Frankstein. But granitic soils also give a nice elegance to our Sylvaner, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris (which are very particular here, dryer than in other soils).
As we have granit almost everywhere, we choose the place of each grape variety regarding the exposure and type of granit. For instance, Pinot Gris need deeper and richer soil, so we plant it on the down part of the slope. Auxerrois doesn't need much sun, so we usually don't plant it on the southern exposures. Etc!

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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#5 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 25th, 2011, 5:41 am

Florian,

Perhaps I am missing something completely obvious - what is the name of your domaine?

Are your wines imported to the USA, and if so by whom?
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#6 Post by George Tita » January 25th, 2011, 9:22 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Florian,

Perhaps I am missing something completely obvious - what is the name of your domaine?

Are your wines imported to the USA, and if so by whom?

Hi David,
For most wines prior to the 2008 vintage, the wines can be find under his parents name, Yvette e Michel Beck-Hartweg. The wines are now labeled under Florian Beck-Hartweg.

I had the good fortune of stumbling into their cellar in Dambach la' Ville just at the time that I was going through the licensing phase for my company, Tanaro River Imports. As the name suggests, we were focusing on Piemonte producers and I wasn't really hunting for an Alsatian producers. But as with a lot of good things in life, it just "clicked" - not only were the wines excellent, but our families have become friends. They have hosted us, I have hosted Florian, and... Florian will be visiting California again beginning at the very end of March!

Currently, the Beck-Hartweg portfolio is mainly available in California. There is a small amount at Mondo Vino in Denver, and Schnieder's of Capitol Hill in DC keeps threatening to bring it in. If there are an other ITBers on the distribution side outside of Cali lurking out there, I'd love to talk.

I don't want to get my hand slapped, but I think it's ok to say "Watch this space" on Jan 27... (well, not "this" space, but you know what i mean...)

Thanks!

George
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#7 Post by Gordon ZenMasterOfZin Ng » January 28th, 2011, 12:24 pm

George Tita wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Florian,

Perhaps I am missing something completely obvious - what is the name of your domaine?

Are your wines imported to the USA, and if so by whom?

Hi David,
For most wines prior to the 2008 vintage, the wines can be find under his parents name, Yvette e Michel Beck-Hartweg. The wines are now labeled under Florian Beck-Hartweg.

I had the good fortune of stumbling into their cellar in Dambach la' Ville just at the time that I was going through the licensing phase for my company, Tanaro River Imports. As the name suggests, we were focusing on Piemonte producers and I wasn't really hunting for an Alsatian producers. But as with a lot of good things in life, it just "clicked" - not only were the wines excellent, but our families have become friends. They have hosted us, I have hosted Florian, and... Florian will be visiting California again beginning at the very end of March!

Currently, the Beck-Hartweg portfolio is mainly available in California. There is a small amount at Mondo Vino in Denver, and Schnieder's of Capitol Hill in DC keeps threatening to bring it in. If there are an other ITBers on the distribution side outside of Cali lurking out there, I'd love to talk.

I don't want to get my hand slapped, but I think it's ok to say "Watch this space" on Jan 27... (well, not "this" space, but you know what i mean...)

Thanks!

George
'

When Florian comes to visit in Mar/April, do you think you could organize an WB OL, so people who haven't tried the wines before can get some tasting experience with them...without having to buy case quantities? Maybe in something conjunction with the tasting room/nearby restaurant @WinEx in Tustin???

I don't buy anything these days without tasting before, just too many wines you chase that way, and end up pouring money down the drain on wines you don't really appreciate... "off-dry" Riesling to me is invariably too sweet! I want ultra dry, like a Chablis, but with richness of ripe fruit, but not *too* ripe. See what I'm getting at, it's style preference that cannot easily be determined without tasting.
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#8 Post by George Tita » January 28th, 2011, 1:03 pm

When Florian comes to visit in Mar/April, do you think you could organize an WB OL, so people who haven't tried the wines before can get some tasting experience with them...without having to buy case quantities? Maybe in something conjunction with the tasting room/nearby restaurant @WinEx in Tustin???

I don't buy anything these days without tasting before, just too many wines you chase that way, and end up pouring money down the drain on wines you don't really appreciate... "off-dry" Riesling to me is invariably too sweet! I want ultra dry, like a Chablis, but with richness of ripe fruit, but not *too* ripe. See what I'm getting at, it's style preference that cannot easily be determined without tasting.[/quote]

Thank you for your suggestion!! I will be sure to post all of the events once we line them up!
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#9 Post by Florian BECK-HARTWEG » January 28th, 2011, 1:15 pm

I will really be pleased to meet WB members during my visit! I hope that we will be able to shedule that!

Gordon, regarding description of what you like, you must taste the 08 FRANKSTEIN Riesling, I'm sure you will love it. It is not that expensive, so it will be easy to buy just one bottle to taste. Then please tell me how you liked it, I'm curious!

Florian
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#10 Post by Frank Deis » February 2nd, 2011, 7:37 am

When a friend of mine was in France he tasted a dry Alsatian Muscat and was completely enchanted. Normally in other areas the wine is finished sweet, there are many examples of that, still or sparkling. He asked me to help him find more dry Muscat and I mainly found a producer or two in California. It's a tough thing to find here in the US.
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#11 Post by Florian BECK-HARTWEG » February 2nd, 2011, 7:50 am

Frank,

Even here it is diffucult to find a good dry one, so I can immagine in the US...
What are the ones you have found in CA?

Florian
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Re: Thoughts on the future of Muscat?

#12 Post by Cris Whetstone » February 2nd, 2011, 9:24 am

Navarro does a good job with their dry Muscat as well as Gewurztraminer.
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