Various wine regions throughout the world have their own unique flavor and style profiles. For example, Vinho Verde is predominantly white, light, fruity, with some frizzante. When you think of a big, lush, juicy, Cabernet, California often comes to mind. Although, just because a region has one identifiable style, that doesn’t mean that typical flavor profile is all the region has to offer.
The Alsace region in France, which has alternated between French and German control throughout its history, is well known for its white wines. They are usually, bone dry, delicately flavored, filled with minerality and strong acidity on the finish. They compliment seafood beautifully.
But there is a whole other side to Alsace, their Pinot Noirs! They are exceptional. I was intrigued by all of Marie Zusslin’s wines at the International Pinot Noir celebration, including of course her Pinot Noir, and then, once home, I was fortunate enough to sample two more.
The first, Domaine Ostertag 2016 Pinot Noir Les Jardins. This Pinot Noir is a lovely departure from most that are light-bodied and light in color. It’s dark, more medium-bodied, and rich in rustic flavors of earth, wood, and brambly fruit. It could easily stand up at a barbeque, while absolutely being elegant enough for steak. Retailing in the $30 range, it is so well worth it.
On the subject of elegance, the second, Francois Baur 2015 Schlittweg Pinot Noir, is exquisite. A stunning garnet color, ripe cherry on the nose and palate, lovely mouth feel and silky smooth tannins. The average price I found online is $23. That’s less than half of what I would have guessed.
These are both wines to buy and drink now. Both are biodynamic, which is a special certification vineyards are given that follow both organic and biodynamic practices in farming and wine making. Great news, they are low in sulfites, so for those who are sulfite sensitive, they are great choices. Often wines lower in sulfites don’t age as well. However, keeping in mind the low cost of these wines, they are affordable enough to experiment on a bottle or two and see how they age. Of course, if you’re like me aging just means they might make it till the end of next weekend!