Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Filtering by Tag: Alsace

Alsatian Riesling

Poor Riesling. No matter how hard wine aficionados champion its qualities, it remains one of the most misunderstood grapes.  Many people associate it with being uber-sweet and often shy away from its bold, aromatic qualities.  However, this is one versatile grape that can be vinified across the entire flavor spectrum, from bone dry to luscious dessert wine; sweet is only one chapter of the Riesling story.  It is also a highly adaptable grape that is grown all over the world. While its roots are European, burgeoning wine regions, such as the Finger Lakes, have had great success producing wines.

While it is often associated as one of Germany's premier grapes, Alsace is also renowned for its Riesling production. This northeastern French region is home to 13 different terroirs, and these distinctions can be tasted in the wines. Many winemakers commonly use organic and biodynamic practices to lessen the manipulation of the wine and let the terroir define the wine. 

I was sent a bottle of Albert Seltz, Riesling Reserve, Alsace, 2012 for review.  The winemaker took over the family vineyard when he was just 19 and has been overseeing production since 1980.  In true Alsation form, he provides minimal intervention in the winemaking process, letting the wines ferment with indigineous yeasts (as opposed to adding yeast to affect the fermentation process) and letting it sit on its lees.

The result? This unctuous wine, with tones of ripe canteloupe, lemon zest and mineralty on the nose, was an aromatic treat.  Med plus body and acid, the  palate showcased a higher citrus profile, along with slate that was mouthwateringly rich. This is a great introductory Riesling for those that normally shy away from the varietal.

Albert Seltz, Riesling Reserve, Alsace, 2012.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine. 

Albert Seltz, Riesling Reserve, Alsace, 2012.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine. 

Keep tasting, friends....

Wines of Alsace - Pinot Gris

There's a wine region in France that I don't frequently write about but find myself constantly drawn to its offerings. Alsace, in the northeastern area of France, primarily produces mineral-driven, high acid wines that are intensely aromatic.  The majority of production is dedicated to white wines, with some sparkling wines known as Cremant d'Alsace.  Fuller in body than some other whites, they stand up well to food but are also a toothsome alternative to the light summer sippers I've been drinking frequently. 

The 51 Grand Cru appelations in the region were recently granted AOC status to ensure the quality of the wines remains consistent. In these sites, only four varieties are allowed to be produced: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat d'Alsace. Also required? The wines must be bottled in the green fluted-shaped vessels.  Quick history: the trade route along the Rhine, where Alsace and Germany did most of their commerce, was not a rough ride, so the fluted shape was ideal for packing and shipping the wines.  It was also a cheaper style of bottle to produce so economically it was the best option. Over time, efficiency became tradition, which then became a marketing tool.   

Recently I was sent a couple of Alsatian wines to try and the other night opened up the Pinot Gris.  The Dopff et Irion Cuvee Rene Dopff Pinot Gris, 2012, immediately announced ripe apricot, lemon and honeysuckle on nose.  Sipping through, the slight amount of residual sugar brought to mind candied peach and zesty lemon peel.  I was reminded of the sugar-coated gummy candies that were thrown at a kid during his or her bar/bat mitzvah once the Torah portion was completed. (My dimished recollection of Hebrew School thinks we did this to celebrate his or her accomplishment and to send wishes of a sweet life.  Of course, services were long and we all were a bit hungry by this point. Sorry, Rabbi). With a medium plus body and a good amount of acid, this wine was a delicious, lusty sipper for a warm summer's evening.

 

Dopff & Irion Cuvee, Pinot Gris, Alsace, 2012. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

Dopff & Irion Cuvee, Pinot Gris, Alsace, 2012. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

Keep tasting, friends....