I miss the ‘walk around’ consumer and industry tastings!
In Covid-19 times, wineries are selling you an abbreviated selection of their collection, complete with a login so you can taste along with the winemaker via Zoom. It is fantastic that some methodology exists where at least we can taste; however, two to six wines from the same producer (and possibly the same vintage) with the winemaker extolling the virtues of his or her wines simply leaves me wanting more. I want to taste other wines alongside so I can sense and taste the different expressions of a grape crafted by different producers. I want to feel the wine on my palate and sense the acid, alcohol, and fruit elements. I want to compare the wine with bottles from various regions. I want to discover the gem. I want to be the judge and jury.
I sat out on our back patio last night and tasted three different white wines with a friend. (I am studying for the WSET Level 4 Diploma and she is working on her CMS Certified.) We were tasting to cement in our minds what these wines present and to determine if they were good representations of the varietals and place. I will admit that I drink a lot more red than white, but I have been looking for white wines for warm days (coming soon) that are light but flavorful enough to begin the evening. Not to disparage any wine, I am searching for something other than a California Chardonnay or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, wines that seem to be at every party. I want low alcohol and subtle flavors of fruit without the phenolic bitterness some white wines can present.
Our favorite of the night was the 2018 Trimbach Pinot Blanc from Alsace ($17.00). The wine was pale lemon in color and, as I brought the glass to my nose, I was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected intensity of aromas. Fresh lemon, subtle character of lemon pith, lime blossom, pear, a sense of ripe, juicy white peach with a hint of white pepper and wet stones. The alcohol was medium (13%) and the acid subtle but tightly woven with the fruit elements, presenting a wine with pleasant and lingering aromas and flavors.
Pinot Blanc hails from many regions but its best examples are from France’s Alsace, Germany’s Pfalz and Baden, Austria’s Wachau and in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli, and Lombardy winegrowing regions. It produces full-bodied whites with relatively high acidity, yeasty citrus and appley aromas and flavors and hints of spice. When aged, it can present lovely, honeyed tones.
I really enjoyed this Pinot Blanc from Alsace, France, and will have fun crafting appetizers and light meals to enjoy with this gem. Think soft cheeses with fresh, crusty bread, summer salads with creamy dressings (use some of the Pinot Blanc to make your own special dressing), and flaky fish dishes. Who needs a ‘walk-around’ tasting? Plan your own tasting so you and your guests can be the judge and jury!