The first thing you notice about this wine is it's colour - quite a deep orange/gold, suggesting a high level of ripeness. The texture in the glass is also a good indicator - swirl it around and it takes a while for the tears to even form, never mind roll down the sides. The nose also promises much ripeness, with an intensity of mineral-rich fruit such as I have rarely (if ever) encountered in a supposedly "basic" Alsace cuvée. The aromas of flowers, toffee apple, peach, apricot and orange that emanate from the glass really do heighten the senses. A whiff of wet slate and backgound notes of cinnamon and spice, not to mention what I perceive as more than a hint of honeyed botrytis, merely add to what really is a complex nose. And the palate doesn't disappoint, offering a depth of flavour and richness reminiscent of a vendange tardive wine - or even a selection grains nobles (SGN) - yet at the same time so wonderfully fresh and vibrant. The spiced citrus, tree fruit and mineral flavours are matched blow-for-blow by a toffee and marmalade-like intensity, all of which lingers for an age on the palate. There's a certain amount of residual sugar, for sure, but any impression of sweetness is far outweighed by the sheer intensity of flavour and joyous balance that this wine possesses. And if it were too sweet, TLD would hate it, because she actively dislikes sweet wines - and the fact that she absolutely loved it tells me that we have something rather special here.
I'm well aware that Rolly Gassmann have a reputation for producing wines with a certain amount of residual sugar, which often take a good few years to come into balance. But this one is supremely balanced already, and the sheer pleasure of drinking it has me in complete and utter rapture. I shudder to think how much better this wine will become, with a few more years in bottle, because although it is painfully young, it really is so delicious. The last vintage of this wine that I listed (2002 - don't ask me why or how we have suddenly arrived at the 2008, because I don't know) was lovely, but this one is absolutely in a different league. So much so, in fact, that I genuinely wonder whether they might have mistakenly stuck the wrong labels on a much more prestious bottling! Unlikely, I know, but I'm certainly keeping the remainder of this particular case for myself, to enjoy over the next 5 to 10 years or more. Perhaps it is a case of my expectations for this wine being so far exceeded, but the effect of this wine is almost narcotic - which is a shame, because I've just finished the last half of the bottle (having broached it last night, to accompany a simple dish of pasta with garlic, parsley, olive oil and some grated cheese). An utterly glorious, stunning wine. Buy it - at £17.50, it is a real bargain.