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Aromatic Whites from Alsace

April 3rd, 2012 by Alan A. Barone

Unlike the rest of France, the vast majority of wines in Alsace are white wines (they do produce a small amount of Pinot Noir). Despite their world wide appeal, most wines of Alsace are consumed mainly in France. 

The four primary varietals of the nine permitted are also the only varieties that are allowed to become grand cru and late harvest wines.  Certainly the finest wines are made from the Riesling grape, with its elegant, flattering aromas and dry character is contrasted by the wonderful fruit and mineral textures inherent to these wines. Their Gewürztraminer has a rich, exotic nose with spicy, floral, citrus and tropical notes. Its full-bodied rich flavors are unmistakable. Next is Pinot Gris, which generally has less intense aromas and fresh, fruit flavors with even a touch of sweetness. Arguably the most important late-harvest grape, the Muscat, is very aromatic with honey-like fruit and is vinified much drier than other regions of the world.  Although Pinot Blanc is not included in this distinction, it is a very popular grape that tends toward a more subtle fruit character.

As the days become longer and warmer, as you ready yourself to dine of some spicy sausage, shellfish, poultry or fish, enjoy a chilled, crisp, aromatic white wine from Alsace.  These suggestions are all around $20:

2008 Helfrich Pinot Gris 

Subtle apricot, pear and floral aromas lead to richer flavors of peach and apple with a soft minerality at the closing.

2009 Trimbach Riesling   

Pleasing citrus aromas with intense lime and mineral flavors are carried with bracing acidity all the way through the palate and finish.

2009 Dopff & Irion Gewurtztraminer  

Fragrant aromas of rose, berries, melon and spice follow through with more concentration on the palate.

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