The historic Kuentz-Bas estate is producing some of its finest wines in recent memory. While winemaker Samuel Tottoli crafts stunning Rieslings and Pinot Gris from several esteemed grands crus, his everyday whites, like this Pinot Blanc (actually a blend of Pinot Blanc with Auxerrois), garner the most recognition: consistently delivering terrific value, they do not disappoint. Samuel’s key is to treat his more modest bottlings with as much care and respect as his most coveted cuvées, always seeking to showcase terroir by minimizing intervention in the cellar. Farmed according to organic and biodynamic principles, the fruit ferments wild after being pressed and racked into the domaine’s ancient wood foudres, where the wine naturally completes its malolactic fermentation for additional texture and length. Not many entry-level whites are made this way anywhere in the world, and the result—elegant, clean, and dry with abundant apple, pear, and peach fruit, floral nuances, and a focused minerality—suggests Samuel may be onto something. –Anthony Lynch
Kuentz-Bas France | Alsace | Alsace Grand Cru
More than two hundred years of tradition and vineyard pedigree have made the wines of Kuentz-Bas perennial favorites. However, when the family sold the property to famed vigneron Jean-Baptiste Adam in 2004, many wondered what direction the new team would take. Adam, like the estates former owners, has a reputation for being an advocate of Alsatian terroir, and he is the fourteenth generation to continue a family winemaking tradition that began as early as 1614. Winemaker Samuel Tottoli puts a strong emphasis on both terroir and accessibility. The wines are more open than ever while still reflecting the unmistakable character of the vineyards that clients have come to expect from Kuentz-Bas.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch