Monday, July 14, 2008

Alsace Tokay Pinot Gris Etienne Loew Cormier, 2004

Most Alsace Pinot Gris wines are priced at about $15 or higher these days. This one was offered at $8.99 by Village Corner in Ann Arbor. Favorable notes from Dick Scheer, a wine merchant whose palate and advice have earned my trust over more than 30 years, convinced me to go for a case before having a chance to taste it first. I'm glad I did.

The color is a medium gold, and the wine has a classic Alsace Pinot Gris profile: honey, nuts, peaches and lemon creme. It has a substantial presence on the palate--big but also pretty with bright fruit tones. This is a wine that will provide much pleasure over the next several years, and I feel quite smug having a case in the cellar.

Why is the wine bargain priced? Certainly not because of any lack of quality. Etienne Loew is a relatively new and unknown name, at least in Michigan. All of the Loew wines are bargain priced, probably in an effort to introduce them. The domaine fits my Artisan Wine profile to a T. The vineyards have been in the family since the 18th century, and Etienne, the current winemaker, has been to oenology school and spent some time in Oregon learning how to make best use of four hectares of vines and several hundred years of family wine-making tradition. Have you heard the story before?

Etienne Loew: very pleased to meet you and your Pinot Gris. Next, I'll go for the Reisling.

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