The recycling bin outside the average Alsatian household likely contains more empty bottles of Sylvaner than of “noble” Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Gewurztraminer combined. It comes as no surprise: with unrivaled versatility at table and guaranteed mouthwatering abilities, the grape brings something new and fresh to the table. André Ostertag’s fine old-vine rendition, for example, provides utter satisfaction vintage after vintage, and Sylvaner has even achieved grand cru recognition in the Zotzenberg vineyard, a site more than capable of yielding long-lived whites that bear a rich complexity. Jean Boxler is another accomplished ambassador of the variety, and the remarkable finesse of his sleek, stony, apple blossom–scented 2017 suggests that Sylvaner possesses some noble DNA of its own.
Jean Boxler, currently rules the roost at this humble yet incredibly exciting domaine. Intense and serious about his land, his craft, and his wine, Jean is the genius behind what are certainly some of the finest white wines in Alsace (and the world). World War II brought Jean’s grandfather Albert back to Niedermorschwihr from Montana, where he was busy enjoying the natural gifts of big sky country. He became the first generation to bottle the family’s production himself and commercialize it under a family label. Tasting through the entire range of Boxler’s wines is ample proof of the fact that Alsace, along with Burgundy, is the source of the world’s most complex, exciting white wines, and will probably always be.
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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