The holidays are lurking around the corner and we are all busy planning our (Christmas) dinners. Now I usually think of wine first and then food. The theme for this year at my table is the Pinot wines from Alsace, because in my opinion this area deserves a little more attention and of course because Alsace produces great wines that can be used for a wide range of gastronomic purposes!
The area can be found in the northeast of France and has had a turbulent history, it was tossed back and forth between German and French territory for centuries. Since the 17th century, however, the area has been predominantly French and is called Alsace.
In Alsace they make mainly white wine, about 90 percent of production is white. The ten percent red is due to Pinot noir. Wines from this area are almost always mono-cepage wines, meaning made from one grape variety. If blending does take place, the wine is called Edelzwicker and that tastes a lot better than it sounds!
Alsace wines can be made from many different grape varieties, however, four varieties are extra special here, the so-called noble varieties. These include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Muscat. These grape varieties are found in the Grand Cru vineyards. Furthermore, a lot of wine is made from Pinot blanc, Sylvaner and Pinot noir.
The Pinot family
We don’t often realize that all wines whose names begin with Pinot are all related to the Pinot noir grape variety. Pinot blanc and Pinot gris are mutated varieties of Pinot noir. So actually they come from the same grape varieties, each with unique characteristics. For example, Pinot gris has more color than Pinot blanc and Pinot blanc has less acidity than Pinot gris. Do you still follow?
When I think of Pinot blanc I think of round and creamy. A wine that stands out for flavorfulness and not always for high acidity. Can sometimes show some sweetness due to ripeness. Aromas of citrus, apple, pear, pineapple and almonds. Some oak aging often gives the wine just a little extra punch.
This Pinot variety has become very popular in recent years. The wines are friendly and spicy, have medium to high acidity depending on where the wine is made and sometimes a high alcohol content. Gives wines with aromas of lime, lemon, apple and stone fruit, depending on the region there may be tropical aromas and some smokiness.
The most popular Pinot. You can find Pinot noir almost everywhere in the world. The wines have soft tannins and little color. Aromas range from red fruit to earthy scents like truffle and forest floor. When made well, the wines can last for years.
For the holidays, I thought it would be fun to invite three different Pinots, all from Alsace, to the table. Let’s see what I picked!
At the table with Pinot
Trimbach Pinot blanc
This Pinot blanc has a pale yellow color with some green reflections. A ripe nose with aromas of apple, lemon, peach and apricot. A soft wine with a medium body and juicy acids.
Pinot blanc goes great with oily fish. On my Christmas table, I pair this wine with smoked salmon, on toast or in the form of salmon tartare. Don’t like salmon? A shrimp cocktail is also an excellent match. Prefer meat? Think of ham on the bone with asparagus.
Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot boir rouge
Pinot boir? It’s not a typo! This Pinot noir drinks so well that they jokingly called it Pinot boir. An organic wine made from whole bunches without added sulphite. The wine is extremely juicy as the name suggests. Packed with red fruit, strawberry and sour cherry. Has a long pleasant aftertaste.
I pair this organic Pinot noir with a cheese board. Different cheeses are always difficult to combine but this wine is so juicy that it can handle a lot. It also goes very well with pâté, mild beef stew or a mushroom dish. This is also the wine I drink after dinner by the fireplace!
Domaine Fernand Engel Alsace Pinot Gris Réserve
This Alsace pinot gris presents itself full of aromatic spiciness. Some floral aromas of white flowers dance with ripe exotic fruit. In the mouth, the wine is full and round.
On my Christmas table, this Pinot gris is planned to accompany the quiche Loraine, a beautiful combination that never gets old. This wine is also excellent with fuller salads, light fish dishes or poultry.
Good luck preparing your Christmas table! Getting ready for Valentine’s Day? Here you will find inspiration!