Inspired by the Tour de France passing through Alsace yesterday and following the roads of the wine route hard core for most of the afternoon, we pulled out a wine today from one of our favorite Alsatian producers. Domaine Paul Blanck has been a fixture for many generations in the Furstentum Valley, a narrow passage in the Vosges mountains containing four picturesque towns (Kayserberg, Kientzheim, Sigolsheim, and Ammerschwihr) and several highly regarded Grand Cru level vineyards. For those that watched Stage 5 or look for replays online, this is the area before the last two climbs about 35-45 miles from the end of the race, and has some of the prettiest views for the day of the towns and vineyards, in a stage that was positively littered with pretty landscapes. The town of Kayserberg also had a large banner out in their most prominent vineyard, drawing attention to the Schlossburg Grand Cru and the iconic ruins of Chateau du Schlossburg that sits above the walled of the town and the vineyard's edge. The Blanck family was instrumental in Schlossburg getting its Cru status (one of the first in the Alsatian system) and is still one of the larger vineyard owners. All the fruit for their basic level bottlings come from vineyards within the Furstentum Valley, and for varietals like Riesling they do blend some juice from Schlossburg that isn't getting used in their Grand Cru bottlings. So if you want, you can spend 10-15 minutes watching world class cyclists riding past the vines that made the wine you are drinking.
When first opened, there is a slight touch of the 'petrol' aroma that comes from many examples of dry Rieslings, especially in Alsace and Germany. A quick decant or a few swirls in the glass will help kick that out to start revealing dried citrus and melon rind aromas as well as a rich wet stone sort of minerality, On the palate there is absolutely no signs of residual sugars, showing lots of vibrant melon and lemon tones, vibrant minerality across the palate and a long lingering stony finish that practically leaves you drooling from the tanginess. Some vintages can carry more honeyed notes and white fruits, so it's important to compare it from year to year when thinking about foods to pair with it. This is a vintage that works with trout and other river fish, savory chicken, and even pork. It can also handle some heat and spices, but wouldn't do it with some of the sweeter glazes or more penetrating heat combinations as you would with wines that have a more noticeable sweet note.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!