Alsace may be best known for its racy and perfumed whites, but as we have witnessed in the last few years, the region has serious potential to produce fine Pinot Noir, too. A dry and increasingly warm climate, along with myriad soil types that give rise to diverse expressions of the grape, make Alsace the source of some truly impressive reds, which often come at great value. At Kuentz-Bas, winemaker Samuel Tottoli sources his Pinot Noir from vineyards of marl and limestone in the village of Husseren-les-Châteaux. Thanks to the beautifully ripe, healthy harvest in 2015, he was able to vinify using a large proportion (roughly half) of whole grape clusters, without de-stemming. This semi-carbonic maceration—a technique traditionally employed in Beaujolais—gives loads of lively, juicy fruit, notes of sweet spice, and dangerously supple tannins. The wine was then aged in foudres and bottled without filtration. Watch out: this Pinot goes down almost too easily.
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.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
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