20 March 2013

March Alsace

The past year has been blessed by a veritable pipeline of fermented grape juice from the verdant fields of Alsace to my own humble abode here in the mid-South. I've enjoyed dry and sweet, still and bubbly, white and pink... And in so sampling, I've found great joy in the few grapes grown in this region between France and Germany. Likewise, the wines have been good pairings for hearty and seasonally appropriate dishes of sausages and baked beans and thick, rustic bread.

2011 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris
Alsace AOC
100% Pinot Gris
$20, 14% abv.

Half of this family has been making wine since the 17th century Thirty Years' War, a Protestant-Catholic conflict that involved the great Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and the Hapsburg General Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, who had his horoscope written by the brilliant astronomer Johannes Kepler, and well, I'm getting too deep into the history of northern European science and war following the Reformation. This wine is lightly sweet with rich overripe peach flavors and aromas and a tart acidity. Long finish. A perfect match for mild seafood with steamed greens.

2011 Willm Pinot Gris Réserve
Alsace AOC
100% Pinot Gris
$12, 12.8% abv.

In an interesting note, the house of Willm began exporting their light white wines to the US shortly after Prohibition was lifted, and yet had that partnership disrupted by the events of World War II. This particular bottle has a deep amber color with mild pear aromas and flavors and a gentle, lightly sweet finish. No acidity to speak of, leading to a soft and relaxing Pinot Gris. Quite enjoyable and good with a ham and Swiss sandwich topped with stone-ground mustard.

2011 Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris
Alsace AOC
100% Pinot Gris
$15, 13% abv.

An important Alsace producer since 1680, though the vineyards were completely destroyed during WWII. However, I've found that they have done an exceptional job of rebuilding since then. This Pinot Gris has a touch of honey and nectar, followed but a clean, smooth, and round body. Low acidity and a long finish. Perfect for trout served with a wilted arugula salad.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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