For wines to age well they need to be well-balanced, to begin with, but also have high levels of two out of the three following components – tannins, sugar and acids. The better white wines of Alsace – notably Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer – have the latter two components in abundance, making last Sunday’s tasting a very pleasurable experience.
Rolly Gassmann’s Pinot Gris 2008 (13%) had been opened 24 hours and still was delightful under a warmish late-afternoon April sun. Immediately striking was the wine’s rich golden colour and its viscosity, promising a heavier wine. The grapey nose would have you believe it to be a muted Muscat, rich and exotic. The taste ran the tightrope balance of clean acidity and sweetness, really attractive and would be ideal for partnering a rich pate or Roquefort, as Richard suggested. Medium length, it could be labelled one-dimensional and yet it was still a pleasure to drink.
The following night – 48 hours after opening – it was still going strong, and had developed a subtle lavender nose, which was even more interesting.
Alsace wines, if your taste is for the older, developed flavours, are great value for money when compared with white Burgundy.
[Richard: from Leon Stolarski, at a bargain £14.50, four years ago. A lovely wine, just the wrong side of the sweetness line for me but the balance and residual acidity made it very drinkable. I agree it is rather one-dimensional but wonder if that is a characteristic of the grape?]