Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris Réserve 2007

I'm a big fan of Alsatian wine, and Alsatian Pinot Gris is no exception. For the uninitiated, the Pinot Gris grape is the same grape as Pinot Grigio, which you may know from the mega litres of Italian plonk produced with it. However, the difference between a French Pinot Gris and an Italian Pinot Grigio is like night and day. That's not to say all Pinot Grigio is bad, it's not, but there is a big difference in style here.

Where Pinot Grigio is a pale, crisp, light and usually very dry wine, Pinot Gris can be deep yellow, round, fat and off-dry. It's hard to believe they are the same grape. I think all Alsatian whites have a similar style, regardless of the grape variety. Alsace, unlike the rest of France, labels their wine by grape variety. Try a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc or a blended Vin d'Alsace from Alsace, and you'll find that they all have similar characteristics, and are totally different than their new world (or other European) counterparts. I really believe that terrior is just as important, if not more important, than grape variety when determining a wine's character. People are too obsessed with grape varieties, and I think that they should start looking beyond that and into what country/region really excites them.

Enough of the lecture. This particular wine is made by the co-op Cave de Beblenheim. I can't really tell if it's only made for Waitrose, or what makes it a "Réserve", but no matter. It's sometimes hard to tell with these wines if they are off-dry (i.e. a bit of residual sugar) or just very aromatic, but I think in this case there is a bit of sweetness going on, which is actually very pleasant, especially for drinking with spicy food. This is the primary role of these wines in my home, and they do it very well.

Regarding the price, I think I got it on offer for around £6, and it goes for about £8 normally.

Cave de Beblenheim
Pinot Gris Réserve 2007
Alsace AC, France
£6 (£8)

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