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2022 Alsace Pinot Noir

Kuentz-Bas
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With the new year right around the corner, I’d like to suggest one wine resolution for the months ahead: Do not let 2024 go by without embracing Alsatian Pinot Noir every chance you get. All four of our Alsace producers make red wines from the grape and, in recent years, some of their bottlings have counted among the most exciting Pinot Noirs in our entire portfolio—even compared to many stellar bottles of red Burgundy.
     A great place to begin is with Kuentz-Bas, who produces an all-purpose, value-driven cuvée perfect for your weeknight dinner table or backyard barbecue. While the domaine has built its reputation on the more famous Alsatian white grapes over the last several decades, vigneron Olivier Raffin is justifiably enthusiastic about the potential of Pinot Noir in his region. “Historically,” he says, “Alsatian Pinot Noir was harvested at high yields and vinified to be light and clear. But the complexity of Alsatian soils is quite similar to that of Burgundy. The two regions are in a geological continuity. The main difference is in the latitude—we are further north and probably benefit from a more intense acid structure. Apart, maybe, from the rare and greatest sites identified by monks in Burgundy centuries ago, I think that with the same yield, we can do as well as they do in Burgundy.”
     This may sound like a lofty claim, but with the 2019 vintage of this cuvée, he’s earned it. Sourced from decades-old vines and aged in large foudres in the domaine’s centuries-old cellar, this is classic old-world, unadorned Pinot Noir at its best: ethereal, but not lightweight; ripe, but not rich or overly extracted. Evoking delicate, crunchy berries, spices, and black tea, this is a versatile red that is as well-suited to a vegetable-forward dish as it is to seared tuna or your favorite roast fowl, not unlike top-notch Bourgogne rouge. Don’t miss one of the best Pinot Noir values in the world.

Tom Wolf

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Alsace
Country: France
Region: Alsace
Producer: Kuentz-Bas
Vineyard: 25 - 45 years
Soil: Loess, Silt, Limestone
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 12.5%

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About The Region

Alsace

map of Alsace

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.

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Old wine bottles

Let the brett nerds retire into protective bubbles, and whenever they thirst for wine it can be passed in to them through a sterile filter. Those of us on the outside can continue to enjoy complex, natural, living wines.

Inspiring Thirst, page 236

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