I predict this Eichberg will give you one of the most beautiful Pinot Gris aromas you’ve ever experienced. Gorgeous! Definitive! Then, a luxurious, satin pillow on the palate. “Samuel, what would you serve with it?” “Ris de veau with morels. Pigeon or quail with a balsamic reduction sauce.”
“On this type of soil [limestone and heavy clay, with high water retention], biodynamic farming is essential to avoid suffocation of the root system and a blocking of maturation, and equally important to aerate the soil and draw a maximum of the mineral elements available in this deep, thick layer of clay. In the cellar, I use minimal sulfur during vinification and instead age the wine on its lees, crucial for a sunny vintage like 2015 where aromatic complexity is often discreet; we must intensify it during élevage. The work in the vines will allow for balance in such a vintage thanks to the minerality and the salinity drawn from the mycorrhizae [the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots, resulting in nutrients available for uptake], and finally low yields are essential for attaining balance in a warm vintage like this.” —Samuel Tottoli, Kuentz-Bas
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.
Tragically, Alsace might be the most misunderstood wine region of France. In spite of its long history of viticulture and tremendous diversity of pedigreed terroirs, a past fraught with marketing mishaps has left consumers baffled as to what exactly to expect inside one of these mysterious tall, thin bottles.
The good news, on the other hand, is that a new wave of quality-oriented growers is working hard to put Alsace in its rightful place as one of the world’s most fascinating sources of fine white wine. By embracing tradition, respecting terroir, and making a concerted effort to better communicate the countless virtues their wines have to offer, they have succeeded in putting Alsace back on the map.
Crafted from a number of grape varieties and beautifully interpreting the region’s mosaic of soil types, our Alsace imports are by and large dry whites offering exceptional versatility at table. While each of these selections is ready to be uncorked tonight, the finest among them are also capable of maturing for many, many years in a cool cellar. Expect kaleidoscopic aromatics, lively acidities, and loads of terroir transparency in these skillfully crafted masterpieces. Enjoy a foray into the thrilling world of the world’s most underrated wine region, and certainly do not hesitate to contact our sales staff with any questions as you take off on this mouth-watering adventure.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171
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