Sipping Through Alsace ~ The Seven Noble Grapes: Featuring Pinot Noir
May 29, 2018
Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most special, but difficult grapes to grow. She is very elusive, hard to understand, and even trickier to perfect. When you think of Pinot Noir, you automatically associate it with Burgundy, or perhaps Russian River Valley, or even Willamatte Valley, but, Alsace? Well, you have been misinformed! For some of the most elegant and intriguing Pinot Noir hail from Alsace.
Less than 10% of Pinot Noir is grown in Alsace. It is the ONLY red varietal allowed to be grown in the region by law, and in amazing vintages, these wines can deliver some great intensity! She is light and fresh, with elevated red and black fruit aromas. Many of the producers do one of the following: after pressing and final fermentation, the wine is transferred to steel tanks, large oak barrels (foudres) or small barrels (barriques), depending on level of ambition and the potential of the young wine. There is one producer in Alsace that throws all of their Pinot Noir in a 100 year old Wooden vat! Imagine the time and care it takes to maintain this vat, the generations of family wine makers using that same vessel to age their family wine – it is a pretty romantic thought!
Pinot Noir is used extensively for Cremants, Rosé, and also in white wines where it may be used as Pinot Blanc. Some Cremants even label their Pinot Noir Blends as “Blanc de Noir”, but it is kind of rare to come across a label like this. For now, there is no existing Grand Cru designation for Alsace Pinot Noir. That does not mean that this varietal is not taken seriously. You will find marvelous expressions of this grape from Fronholz, Sundel, and Clos Saint Landeline just to name a few.
The Grand Cru designation for Pinot Noir in Alsace will come in time, and Everest is extremely proud to boast many different producers on our wine lists featuring these amazing reds from Alsace. Make your reservation now here.