Archive for ‘France: Alsace’

June 10, 2017

Pfaffenheim Pfaff Gewürztraminer, 2014

Gold the label proclaims.  And it is a golden pour, a lush and covertly leaden golden nectar.  There is more than a hint of rosewater, which is less cultivated garden and more Indian lassi.  The sweet, like an overripe lychee, is juicy but ever so slightly tips towards cloying, and gives it a headiness reminiscent of a perfume counter.


As a food wine, in Vancouver, with all the West Coast has to offer, it’s stellar.  Cheese, fish, shellfish, Vegan.  But as a sipper it was patently less than refreshing.  All that said, as I’ve said many times, Alsace can do no wrong; it’s just we hold the Alsatian bar a little higher and expect a little more.  (Compliments on the screw top.)


Price: $19.49 before tax.


Market Liquidity: Supremely affordable and at the price point, yes, golden.

February 10, 2017

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc, 2012

Fondue Party!

Fondue Party!

Bought a bottle for a fondue party but it was trumped by Champagne. How insulting! Still, unless you’re royalty, the Champagne runs out. So after dinner we drank the Pinot Blanc.


I was immediately hypnotized by the depth and layers of flavour, the fruit (it had high notes of pear and apple and low notes of quince) and stone and light vivacity of it. But after a few bottles of Champagne, was that just the Piper, Mumm and Moet talking?


We opened a second bottle a few nights later to accompany fish pie. And here the wine was exceptionally complementary but I must admit a little less multi-dimensional. It had much stronger notes of flint and hints of pear and less of the layered intricacies we thought were so prominent the first time, with a strong acidic flourish. It’s rated at the liquor store as a “00” but we found the residual sugar a little higher. Still, if you can score something from Alsace, you score something from Alsace, and this is a delectable incredibly food friendly white at a decent alcohol volume. Too bad you don’t see it on local wine lists.


Price: $27.99 at BC Liquor. Last time I checked it was available, province wide, in five locations. That is the proverbial Donald Trump sad.


Market Liquidity: Hard to resist.


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December 23, 2016

Kuhlmann-Platz Gewurtztraminer, 2015


I’m of the mind that Alsace rarely takes a wrong turn.  The wines are abundant and diverse in France while a little thin on the ground in BC.  Plus, they tend to be at a price point that is disadvantageous to the everyday drinker.


So, on this bottle, it scores for being a decent white, refined, not too expensive, and very approachable.  It is brimming with guava, pineapple and other tropical notes.  It went with Thai chicken green curry a treat, cut through spice and conquered residual coconut milk.  But it is not as accomplished as many wines of the region and it drinks just a tad too heavy, with too much syrup, like the bottom of a tin of lychees, than I prefer.


Natalie MacLean went bonkers over this wine.  As a food friendly white, for international cuisine, full marks.  But I could stand a little more to ponder (like the dreamy Gruner Vetliner from Culmina we drank a few weeks ago).


Price: Under $20 at BC Liquor before (what I like to call) tax and tip.


Market Liquidity: It works, but sometimes that’s not enough.


September 30, 2011

Three Rieslings

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling, 2010

Not a lot of superlatives come to mind.  No one really thought, sipping it before dinner, there was anything special to blog about although I had clipped the winemaker’s notes as “refreshing, off-dry, blend” to no avail.  It seemed a little flat with a nominal finish.  With food (e.g., Nasi Goreng, Asian fried rice) it was considerably more lively, some floral notes and an oxymoronic tart-sweetness that was quite becoming.

Price: $15.99, widely available at BC liquor stores.

Market Liquidity: Not our first pick, not our worst pick.

Pierre Sparr Extreme Riesling, 2009

Full disclosure: First, there is no bad wine from Alsace.  This “fact” is not up for debate so save your breath.  Second, Pierre Sparr can do no wrong.  So that’s my starting point, that’s my wine ethos, you know everything there is to know about me!  Third, though, there is a first time for everything.  This wine we found sharp, rather flat, and altogether a sipping and meal-go-with disappointment.  Despite, as I said one second ago, being fans, even excited to have an “under $20” Sparr.  There was no enjoyment before dinner, it didn’t complement our seafood supper, it lacked the finesse that makes Rieslings so esteemed, and worst of all it shines poorly on the Sparr house.  What a phenomenal letdown.

Price: $18.99 at BC liquor stores.

Market Liquidity: A shocking letdown.  No second chance.

The Doctor’s Riesling, 2010

Oooh la la: A rich sweet Riesling from New Zealand.  Lottsa residual sugar.  On first sip sweet like a lolly, then luscious, lovely, lingering.  The sweetness fades, lemon and melon come through on the finish.  Like discovering sliced bread.  What else?  8.5 per cent alcohol.  I repeat: 8.5 per cent alcohol.  It’s a miracle!  All my prayers have been answered!  What a superb lunch quaff.  Screw top to boot.  We could find no fault.

Price: $19.99 at BC Liquor, if you can find it, or $6 more at Liberty.

Market Liquidity: Under $20, by the grace of God; stock up.