Anne de K Pinot Gris Altenbourg VV 2014

Where empires collide. Civilizations rise and fall. The European Parliament resides…well I guess not everything can be great. Also: wine.

Ah-hah you might respond. Alsace. Strasbourg. Territory over which France and Germany (Gaul, Prussia, etc) have fought for ever, currently French. Let’s not even talk about the Romans.

Funny thing about conflict and chaos; it can lead to innovation working with conservatism, new influences working within tradition; crossroads are where we find renewal.

In some pursuits the layering of time and generations makes a difference. Automobiles, computers, agriculture – in fact all of civilization can be boiled down to one generation building upon the achievements of those prior.

Winemaking is – especially in the case of Alsace – a brilliant case study of this phenomenon. Hundreds of years of gradually accumulated knowledge of soil, weather, plant, biology and the effects of time build upon each other to create an industry with deep roots. Yeah, it’s a pun, but not a dopey one.

I don’t know much about this wine, other than it’s pinot gris made in the Alsation style, which is to say:

Alsace Pinot Gris wines must be made with 100% Pinot Gris grapes and they taste very complex. You’ll discover spice notes of cinnamon, honey, clove, meyer lemon and ginger paired with a looooong tingly aftertaste. Look for the words ‘Vendages Tardives’ as a late harvest (even sweeter) dessert wine option.

Quoted from here, with thanks, attribution and imprecation to go buy the book.

This glass is everything you’d expect and then some. Yes, sweeter than pinot grigio by a long measure, but you’ll be so astonished by the depth and complexity it won’t matter. We’re talking the same grape that crap supermarket junk wine is made from here. The flavour profile is more like a Sauternes than anything else; a Sauternes in (very) infancy, for sure, but the layering of fruit and the depth and the effortless complexity are all there.

Funny thing complexity, it can take a while to put into a bottle.