At this time of year, many wine lovers start drinking more red wines instead of white wines.
It’s easy to see why.
The days are getting colder.
The nights are getting longer.
And the food becomes more filling.
Slow roast chicken in the oven for hours.
Chili simmered on a stove all afternoon.
Beef stews or meat pies to keep us warm on cold fall nights.
Who wouldn’t want a full-bodied red wine to accompany one of these meals?
But not all white wines are made for hot summer afternoons. Many great wines can more than hold their place the rest of the year. And very near the top of the list are white wines from the Alsace region of France.
Many tasty white wines can be found in this corner of northern France. This week, I decided to highlight the wines made from three white grape varieties that thrive in Alsace and seem to be tailor-made for cool, cool weather: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling. And while you can find many great white wine producers in Alsace, I wanted to recommend three particularly great wines from three different Alsatian winemakers. Let me add wines ranging from $ 13 to $ 28 a bottle. Hope you enjoy.
RECOMMENDED WINES THIS WEEK
2018 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer (suggested retail price of $ 13)
2016 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Les Princes Abbes ($ 26 SRP)
Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling 2018 (28 $ SRP)
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ALSACE REGION IN FRANCE
Located along the German border in north-eastern France, near the Rhine, the Alsace region has produced exceptional wines for centuries. And there’s a reason why the wines here sometimes seem more German than French. Indeed, the Alsace region has made several round trips over the last centuries to be part of Germany or France before being finally declared French in 1919 after the First World War. It could also explain why the long, slender bottles of wine from Alsace resemble those most commonly found in Germany. And like Germany and unlike most of France, Alsace wines are often labeled according to grape variety rather than geographic locations.
COMMON GRAPES IN ALSACE
Alsace produces a wide range of red (especially Pinot Noir) and white wines. But the vast majority of its wines include some of the most popular white wine grapes often found near the German side of the Rhine. The three most popular white grape varieties in Alsace are:
- Riesling (about 21 percent of all Alsatian wine)
- Gewurztraminer (18 percent)
- Pinot Gris (15 percent)
Let me add that one of the things I love about Alsatian white wines is how they blend the mineral crunch of French Chablis wines with the pear fruit flavors of some German wines.
WINE TASTING NOTES
Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2018
Raisin – Gewurztraminer
Tasting Notes – A name that’s hard to say (geh-vertz-tra-mean-er), an easy wine to love. I have long been a big fan of these hearty and tasty white wines. This gewurztraminer illustrates why. Floral flavors of licorice abound in this dry, fragrant wine. There are also hints of anise and tropical fruits in the taste and aromas. Let me add that the Sparr family has been making wines in Alsace since 1680. So it’s no surprise that this refreshing white wine is so good. It is practice makes perfect.
2016 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Les Princes Abbes
Grape – Pinot Gris
Tasting Notes – Lovers of clean, crisp, dry white wines probably already know all about Pinot Gris wines. This raises the bar. Beautiful blend of subtle fruit flavors (apricot, lemon and blood orange), this Pinot Gris also remains wonderfully dry and refreshing. There is also a hint of minerality in the wine which makes it ideal for spicy or more hearty fall foods like duck, turkey or lamb. A truly delicious wine and an excellent example of the graceful wines of Pinot Gris from Alsace.
Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling 2018
Raisin – Riesling
Tasting Notes – Riesling wines can cover an amazing range – from dry bone to sweet syrupy. This exceptional Alsatian Riesling from one of the region’s most revered vineyards (the Humbrecht family has been making great wines since 1620) smells and tastes delicious. Floral aromas mixed with soft and understated flavors of pear and peach give this wine a touch of sweetness without being overwhelming. Perfect with spicy dishes, roast turkey or on its own, it was a pleasure to spend time with Alsace’s most popular grape made by one of its most respected winemakers.
Pressoir by Ken Ross Appears on Masslive.com every Monday and in the weekend section of the Republican every Thursday.
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