2012 Famille Hugel Pinot Gris

Even though I regularly drink wines from Alsace, I recently realized it has been way too long since I enjoyed an Alsatian Pinot Gris.  I decided to change that so I uncorked a bottle of 2012 Famille Hugel Pinot Gris.  Hugel was founded in 1639 and is run by the 12th consecutive generation of the family.  The Famille Hugel Pinot Gris is 100% hand-picked Pinot Gris fermented with native yeasts.  Hugel aimed to allow the purest expression of the grapes and I think they did a great job of letting the fruit shine through.

Hugel
Famille Hugel Pinot Gris

Famille Hugel Pinot Gris opens with aromas of ripe pineapple, apricot, and hazelnut.  The full-bodied wine has a rich mouthfeel with tastes of ripe pear, tangerine, and lemon zest.  There is also healthy acidity that brings balance and brightness to the palate.  Intense yet fresh and pure.  This is a really nice Pinot Gris for a very reasonable price!  ($20, 14% alcohol)

*media sample

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White Wines For Thanksgiving!

It seems like so many people I know serve the same wines with Thanksgiving every year.  When I dine with friends or see pictures from Thanksgiving tables, Chardonnay seems to be the overwhelming white wine choice.  While I do enjoy a well-made Chardonnay, most people opt for a bottle that overwhelms the meal with oak, butter, and alcohol.  I recently tasted through almost a dozen white wines (tough job, I know) and came up with a few favorites for your Thanksgiving meal!

Narrowing down the choices…so many great white wines to choose from for Thanksgiving!

Riesling

Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines and is a great pairing with many Thanksgiving dishes.  I recently tasted 2013 Famille Hugel Riesling and discovered it’s not only delicious, but it’s also a killer value at $12.  This dry Riesling from the Alsace region of France is filled with tastes of lemon and orange blossom along with naturally bright acidity and hints of minerality.  Pair with everything from yams to mashed potatoes to turkey & stuffing! ($12)

Chenin Blanc

One tradition we keep at our Thanksgiving table is making sure there is a place for seafood.  Oysters and Dungeness Crab always seem to work their way into our meal.  Dry Chenin Blanc is one of my favorite pairings with shellfish.  Chenin Blanc is made in many styles so look for a bottle that has nice acid and texture.  One bottle that recently grabbed my attention is 2014 Lo-Fi Chenin Blanc from the Jurassic Park vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  With bright citrus, stone fruit, and a rich mouthfeel, this wine is a great match for shellfish! ($26)

White Rhone Blends

If you come to our house for Thanksgiving, you will always find a White Rhone Blend poured with your meal.  One of my favorite domestic bottles is 2013 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc, a blend of 50% Roussanne, 25% Marsanne, 13% Viognier, 6% Grenache Blanc, and 6% Grenache Gris from the Russian River Valley.  The wine is beautifully balanced and bright with incredible texture.  It will really brighten up heavy dishes and is a staple at our Thanksgiving table. ($30)

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#Winechat – The Diversity of Riesling

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to join in with other wine writers and wine lovers to taste Riesling from three different regions.  We sampled Riesling from Alsace (France), Rheingau (Germany), and Kamptal (Austria).  Each wine was completely different from the others, showing the vast diversity of the Riesling grape.  Here are my tasting notes from the #Winechat Twitter event!

Three very diverse Rieslings
Three very diverse Rieslings

Alsace – Paul Blanck & Fils Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg 2010 

This Riesling opens with abundant citrus aromas.  The bright, balanced palate offers citrus and tropical fruit flavors and there is healthy acidity that gives the wine a nice lift through the tart, lengthy finish.  Full of character yet elegant! ($13% alcohol, $35)

Rheingau – Schloss Schönborn Riesling Kabinett Erbacher Macrobrunn 2011

Enticing aromas of green apples and tropical fruit jump out of the glass.  The palate is slightly sweet with tastes of green apples, pineapple, lime, and a touch of honey.  There is ample acidity present to balance the sweetness.  If you think you don’t like sweet Riesling, I am pretty sure this wine will change your mind! (9.5% alcohol, $24)

Kamptal – Brandl Riesling 2011 from the Heilingenstein 

This is the biggest and boldest Riesling of the lineup.  The wine begins with aromas of minerals and citrus.  The mineral-driven palate offers tastes of stone fruit, citrus, and ginger.  The palate also is a bit thicker than the other two wines of the evening.  I think this wine destroys any argument that Riesling is meek and mild.  (14% alcohol, $34)

*Media Samples

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Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

I am rounding out my Crémant d’Alsace tasting with Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé.  Lucien Albrecht is one of the pioneering wineries in Alsace with its history dating back to 1425.  This Rose is a little less complex than the Gustave Lorentz Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rosé yet still is really enjoyable (and priced a little less)!

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

Technical Stuff

100% Pinot Noir from the Alsace region in France. Vinified according to the “Methode Champenoise”. 12% alcohol and an SRP of $19.99.

Tasting Notes

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé pours a beautiful salmon color in the glass.  The nose draws you in with aromas of bright red fruit and minerals with hints of yeast.  The creamy palate has flavors of strawberries, cherries, and minerals.  With balanced acidity, this sparkler is super easy to sip. Refreshing, food-friendly, and delicious!

*Media Sample

 

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Baron de Hoen Crémant d’Alsace Brut

It’s been a long day and I am sipping a glass of Baron de Hoen Crémant d’Alsace Brut.  It’s a perfect glass of bubbly to enjoy after a long work day or to kick off a relaxing weekend.  Super refreshing and, once again, a great value from Alsace!

Baron de Hoen Crémant d’Alsace Brut
Baron de Hoen Crémant d’Alsace Brut

Technical Stuff

100% Pinot Blanc from Alsace.  Vinified according to the “Methode Champenoise” and undergoing no malolactic fermentation.  12.5% alcohol with an SRP of $17.99.

Tasting Notes

Baron de Hoen Crémant d’Alsace Brut opens with rich aromas of green apples, flowers, citrus, and spice. The palate is slightly creamy with tastes of orange, lemon, and tart green apple skin.  There are also notes of minerals and almonds along with a dry, vibrant finish.

*Media Sample

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Gustave Lorentz Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rosé

This week, I am going to be featuring sparkling wines from Alsace. The common thread among all of the bottles (and many more from the region) is value.  Each bottle is under $25 and lovely for summer sipping. Gustave Lorentz Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rosé is the first bottle that won me over during a recent tasting.  It is well-balanced and super food-friendly!

Gustave Lorentz Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose
Gustave Lorentz Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rose

Technical Stuff

100% Pinot Noir from the Alsace region in France. Vinified according to the “Methode Champenoise”. 12% alcohol and an SRP of $24.

Tasting Notes

Gustave Lorentz Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rosé begins with aromas of red fruit and hints of spice.  The dry palate offers vibrant acidity along with tastes of strawberries, citrus, and subtle minerality.  Refreshing, balanced, and seriously delicious!

For more info, visit Gustave Lorentz.

*Media Sample 

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Kuentz-Bas 2011 Pinot Blanc

Do you sip much wine from Alsace?  If you don’t, you are really missing out on some fantastic values.  The region, located in the northeastern corner of France, predominantly produces white wines that are balanced and acid-driven.  Kuenzt-Bas, established in 1795, is located in  the village of Husseren-les-Châteaux.  The winery sits at one of the highest points in Alsace and the vineyards stretch out over an area of 24 acres. I just uncorked a bottle Kuentz-Bas 2011 Pinot Blanc and was impressed with the harmonious flavors of the wine!

Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Tradition 2011
Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Tradition 2011

Technical Stuff

A blend of 70% Pinot Blanc and 30% Auxerrois from Alsace.  Biodynamic.  12.5% alcohol. Retails for around $17.

Tasting Notes

Kuentz-Bas 2011 Pinot Blanc opens with pleasing aromas of citrus and white flowers.  The palate is dry and features lemon and spice with underlying minerality and balanced acidity.  There is also a nice saline quality that makes the wine extremely easy to sip.  Clean, crisp, and very food-friendly!

For more info, visit Kuentz-Bas

*Media Sample

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Wines of Alsace Twitter Tasting Wrap Up!

Here are my tasting notes from the Wines of Alsace Twitter Tasting on June 27th.  Each dry Riesling is distinctively different and perfect for the hot, summer weather that seems to be taking over the country!

The lineup for #AlsaceRocks!
The lineup for #AlsaceRocks!

Trimbach 2010 Riesling

Beautiful aromas of sweet ginger and fresh flowers are followed with a crisp and vibrant palate.  Racy acidity and flavors of peach, lime and ginger make this wine a perfect match for sushi! (13% alcohol, $20, B+)

Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Theo 2011

Opens up with a nose of delicate flowers, peach, orange and anise.  The palate has lively acidity and tastes of orange, herbs and lime.  The finish is long and the palate shows some depth and character.  Only native yeasts were used for fermentation with minimal intervention in the winemaking process. (13.5% alcohol, $30, A-)

Meyer-Fonne Riesling Reserve 2011

This organically farmed Riesling opens with gentle aromas of dried pineapple and citrus.  The palate is elegant with noticeable yet soft acidity and tastes of citrus and sweet white peaches.  A great wine for those not familiar with dry Rieslings!  (13% alcohol, $22, B+)

Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d’E 2011

To me, this was the most interesting wine in the lineup.  Floral aromas with citrus accents.  Lively acidity envelopes tastes of white flowers, citrus, peach and minerals.  Biodynamic with only native yeasts for fermentation.  Definitely my pick to pair with fish tacos! (13% alcohol, $24, A-)

 

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Albert Mann 2010 Cremant d’Alsace Brut

There are lots of reasons to celebrate this time of year.  Graduations, vacations, sunshine, beach days…the list goes on!  I am always excited to find a great sparkling wine that is priced exceptionally well for summer celebrations.  Albert Mann 2010 Cremant d’Alsace Brut definitely fits the bill!

This sparkler is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Auxerrois grown in the Alsace region of France. Made in the traditional Champagne method, it has 12.5% alcohol and retails for around $22.

Tasting Notes

Albert Mann

This pale, gold wine has aromas citrus and pear with hints of fresh-baked bread.  On the palate, there are delicate bubbles surrounded with fresh tastes of citrus, green apples, spice, and yeast.  Vibrant acidity and a lot of value for your dollar!  Perfect for any summer celebration!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with oysters, lobster, or sip as an aperitif.

*Media Sample

 

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Pierre Sparr 2009 Riesling

Pierre Sparr 2009 Riesling is another great summer sipper from Alsace.  Riesling is one of my favorite wines to sip in warm weather because it compliments almost any food and is generally light and refreshing.  This 100% Riesling isn’t complex but it is well-balanced and food-friendly!

Riesling

Tasting Notes

This bright gold wine has a bouquet of citrus and green apples.  The palate is dry and clean with flavors of tart lemon and green apple with hints of minerality.  Crisp, refreshing, and easy to enjoy!  (12%, $14)

My Wine Rating – B+

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with sushi, oysters or baked salmon with roasted vegetables. 

*Media Sample

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