Grey, or Gray. Sometimes it matters.

Why Alsace Pinot Gris is it’s own thing


Sometimes grey matters. No pun intended. In this case it happens to matter a lot, yet in a very specific way. I recently wrote about Value Pinot Gris, and $20 Pinot Gris, but these were Gris in name only. Today I present a very modest selection of Pinot Gris, though in this case the wines are Alsace Pinot Gris and these are so distinctively different from virtually all other Gris produced that they beg to be considered in a different way.

While the other Gris, for the most part, and the Grigios for that matter, pleased the palate with their freshness and purity of fruit, Alsace Pinot Gris comes on like gang busters. Rich and powerful and spicy and deep, and yes often a bit sweet and even honied with age, trading in fresh fruit character for lovely marmalade notes, but boy can these wines sing. The obvious question of course if do you like their song? It’s not for everyone, or every time but put these wines in the right place at the right time and you’ll find little that is better. Begin to consider them for your Thanksgiving day’s feast for example. Here are a half dozen examples to get you thinking about Alsace Pinot Gris.
2010 Dirler-Cade Alsace Pinot Gris Bux 12.5% $NA

There’s a touch of VA here adding lift and accenting the spicy floral character of the aromas here. There’s some apple and peach fruit and even a touch of quince on the nose but this is beautifully spicy above all else. Sweet, broad and lush in the mouth with green tea and honied accents to the core of apple and quince fruit. This is a rich, powerful if not terribly large scaled wine and one that wears it’s sugar on its sleeve. A bit simple but decidedly exuberant , this is fun to drink and then shows wonderfully floral and spiced notes on the sugar lengthened finish. Fabulously friendly wine. 91pts

2010 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris Calcaire 14% $40

Floral, meaty and spicy on the nose with a real deep base of savory butcher’s wax, green plum jam, and melon notes topped with hints of pineapple and white pepper. Green and tart on entry, then this quietly gains abit of balancing sweetness in the mouth with a pithy citrus note framing the core of green plummy fruit. There’s an interesting woody pineapple note here, like when you eat some of the peel with your pineapple, all presented against a fine backdrop of rather salty minerality and a hint of treacle. The finish is rather dry and very fresh and precise, with excellent length and late arriving echoes of tart green fruits and pineapple. A bit on the robust side but very good. 90pts

2007 Domaines Schlumberger Alsace Pinot Gris Grand Cru Spiegel 13.5% $27

Intense on the nose with lots of heirloom apple notes, a touch of gaminess, and layers of dried floral spice, white pepper, and hints of caramel and honeycomb. Smooth and polished in the mouth, this has a wonderful texture but it does lack the intensity of flavors that marks the best examples of Alsace Pinot Gris. The fruit is a bit in the background, all old apple toned and slightly savory with a lovely umami framing note. There are some small candiedcitrus framing notes on the palate that lead to a dry, firm and long finish which takes on the spicy character of dried flowers and honeycomb found on the nose. 89pts

2010 Pierre Sparr Alsace Pinot Gris 13.5% $16

Quite apple and mineral driven on the nose with some chalky soil tones topped with polleny floral notes and a touch of butcher’s wax. Noticeably sweet on entry but with tons of acidity lending this a vivid sweet/tart impression on the palate. The fruit is ripe with hints of peach and even something tropical and banana like framing the core of apple fruit. There’s a lovely hint of bitterness on the finish, along with more banana fruit and green apple , but the bitterness really keeps things interesting when juxtaposed against the sweet/tart palate impression. Kind of fun in a serious and decidedly food friendly way. 88pts

2005 Josmeyer  Alsace Pinot Gris Grand Cru Hengst 14% $60

Deeply aromatic with apple, spice and dried herbal aromas wrapped in a gently nutty and honied robe. On entry thisretains a trace of sweetness adding more richness more than sweetness today, filling out the mid-palate and it’s attractive blend of faded apple fruit, honey and dried floral tones. Rather elegant and long on the finish which again shows lots of honey and tea character topped with saffron spice notes all showing persistence and intensity of flavor, there’s even a little plantain, starchy vegetal note as well. Easy drinking with some attractive aged complexity. 88pts

2011 Willm Alsace Pinot Gris Reserve 13% $14

Old school and a bit funky on the nose, one finds plenty of pear and apple fruit here layered with notes of old wood, yeast, spice and some dusty minerality. Certainly more tart than sweet on entry, this shows a bit of richness from sugar but behaves like a dry wine in the mouth. The flavors run towards the earthy end of the spectrum with attractive apple peel elements on the palate and some preserved lemon notes as well. The finish is dry and somewhatmineral with a pithy citrus element and some lime marmalade nuances. 87pts

Top Alsace Pinot Gris tasted 10/13

Dirler Cade Pinot Gris Bux (2010)
List It
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris Calcaire (2010)
List It
Domaines Schlumberger Spiegel Pinot Gris (2007)
List It
Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Alsace (2010)
List It
Josmeyer Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Aoc Hengst (2005)
List It
Pinot Gris Reserve Alsace Willm (2011)
List It

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: rsak
    1399048 19

    its so nice

    Nov 08, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network