Saturday, May 31, 2008

Schoenheitz Alsace Pinot Gris Holder, 2005

Among nearly 400 wines at the Kalamazoo Food & Wine Fest (I didn't taste them all but made a valiant effort), this Alsace Pinot Gris stood out. It seemed lighter in body than most Pinot Gris wines but with the tensile strength of a fine wire. I didn't take notes but can still remember the scents and flavors of wild flowers, honey, white peaches--powerful and rich but finely focused. It's not easy to concentrate at a Food & Wine Fest, but this wine (and the Riesling from Schoenheitz beside it on the table) took a firm grip on my palate.

Even though I've been drinking Alsace wines for many years and have visited the region, I had never encountered this estate. I learned that the vineyards have been in the Schoenheitz family since the 17th century but were pretty much destroyed during World War II and have been gradually restored since the 1970s by Henri Schoenheitz, Sr. I will be on the lookout for these wines in the future.

Among my other favorites at the tasting: Campbell Rutherglen Muscat (a fabulous dessert wine), D'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz, and Elderton Command Shiraz. The latter was outrageously good--as well it should be, given its regular price of nearly $100. It was a treat to get to try it, but it's not a wine I would consider buying. Those are all Australian wines. I also enjoyed a number of Spanish, Argentinan, French and New Zealand wines that I'm likely to buy and report on in the months to come.

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