Archive | March, 2020

Wine Memory: Lucien Albrecht Pinot Blanc Cuvée Balthazar

23 Mar

Lucien Albrecht Pinot Blanc Cuvée Balthazar 2016; 12.5% ABV, $15/bottle online. Screwcap Closure. 

 

Color is pale straw. The nose offers gentle melon with a touch of citrus. On the palate, gentle white stone fruit, pineapple, kiwi, apricot, and honeydew. Gentle acidity followed the fruit, with a subtle, quiet finish.

 

I first tasted this wine (the 2014 vintage) when in Alsace, before a meal. Then I had an opportunity to try the 2016 a year ago. I enjoyed it, but for some reason, I never wrote about it. But I recalled enjoying the wine, and I marked it down in my wine journal, sought it out again, purchased and cellared the wine, and just recently when winter had receded, my brain wanted spring and then the perfect moment hit me recently: I simply craved this bottle. I went to the cellar, retrieved and cleaned it from cellar dust, poured a taste and put the bottle in the fridge to drop the temperature a few degrees while I sorted color and aroma. The first sip immediately brought me back with the memory of this wine at an outdoor table in Colmar, France, on the Alsace wine route, in an area dubbed “little Venice/la petite Venise”. I kid you not, it was as cinematic in my mind as any filmmaker’s trick to place you back and re-live a memory you might swear was the real thing.

 

 

I needed that memory; I desired that calm, the flavor, the scent, the moment in time. This was the perfect time for the bottle, and I enjoyed it far more than any other wine or spirit could at that moment. When I tasted it alone, I was thrilled. When I paired it with some roasted vegetables and a bite of warmed Comté on a piece of crunchy baguette. I was in heaven.

 

Like many of Albrecht’s wines, this is a great example of a wonderful wine that represents a beautiful region with impressive olfactory and flavor memory. For me, so many of the world’s great wines are like this. And that is why they carry such impact with world travelers and wine lovers.

 

If you’re nodding in agreement, then you’ve been, and you know. If you are intrigued, then start planning your trip, either to  the Eastern towns of France, or to the restaurants and wine bars that showcase the food and wines from these regions. Or come to my house, <grin> as long as that’s with plenty of advance warning.

 

à votre santé!

Hess Select California Pinot Gris 2019

19 Mar

Hess Select California 2019 Pinot Gris; Napa, California. 13%ABV, SRP $12/bottle.

 

Pale gold color with a slightly green tinge. Nose of gentle citrus, nectarine, and green cuttings to delight the senses. On the palate are pineapple, ripe stone fruit with gentle acidity; a light and fresh finish. You will think you are tasting the sunshine. The stainless-steel fermented wine needs no oak to hide flaws; there are none. This is as delicious a pinot gris as I’ve ever tasted from the USA.  I paired this with salad and salmon on day one, then with pizza on day two before it was gone. Each glass invited another, and I finished the bottle wishing for more. At this price, why not? One could buy this by the case for this summer, and smart buyers will do exactly that.

 

All Images protected by Copyright and not to be use without permission.
Copyright 2020 by Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked

 

Here’s the skinny: under normal circumstances, I’m rarely impressed by pinot gris from the USA. I like pinot gris from Alsace, from Trentino-Alto Adige, from Friuli-Venezia Giulia – these are three of the world’s best regions for pinot gris -and in these regions, the winemakers make AMAZING wines- followed by some really nice wines New Zealand. But California has just not made my list, until now. The 2019 growing season was superb, with good soil saturation and cool temperatures in the spring, followed by ideal growing conditions all summer long. A warm and dry autumn with cool evenings helped complete the cycle for highest-quality fruit, so the wine exudes structure and balance that must be tasted to be believed. Winemaker Dave Guffy has a feather in his cap on this wine, and this pinot gris stands strongly. Drink now. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Copyright 2020 by Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked

 

à votre santé!

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