Uncorked – No-Nonsense Tips from a Local Wine Professional
By Justin Hall
Now that summer has arrived, you may be wondering what wine to uncork while lounging by the pool or enjoying a light, seasonal meal with loved ones. Why not a chilled, refreshing white to combat the heat? There are many regions and varietals that would fit the bill, but I personally love the white wines from Alsace, France. It may be the smallest region in France, but it’s definitely not one to overlook!
In Alsace, white wine is truly king. The white varietals: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewürztraminer are known as the four noble grapes of Alsace. Although there are many varieties of wines from Alsace, they all have in common lovely balance and a nice acid which makes them great wines to pair with fresh summer foods.
One impressive producer that always delivers quality wines and never disappoints is the Hugel Family, who have been making exceptional wine for 13 generations. I particularly recommend trying the Famille Hugel Estate Gewurztraminer 2012. This wine displays beautiful aromatics of floral notes and spice, and is a great deal at an average cost of around $25 a bottle. At your next summer get-together, try pairing this delicious Gewurztraminer with poultry, a smoked fish dish or something spicy. It’s also great all on its own!
The Trimbach Family is another quality producer, with a long history dating back to 1626. Arguably one of the most well regarded producers in Alsace, Trimbach wines are always a safe bet. When it comes to a perfect wine for drinking in the summertime, I recommend the Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2011.
Pinot Gris is a clone of the popular Italian varietal Pinot Grigio, but the two are actually completely different in taste. Alsatian Pinot Gris tends to have more body, a slightly oily texture and displays both tropical fruit notes and hints of smoke. In contrast, Pinot Grigio is quite a bit lighter in body and features less complex fruit aromas. You and your guests can enjoy the Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2011 with white fish off the grill at your next backyard barbecue for only around $20 a bottle.
While white wine is considered a better fit for drinking during Florida’s hot summer months, some people will simply always prefer to enjoy a good red. So, when hosting a dinner party for clients or friends, it’s a good idea to have both options available so guests can choose for themselves.
Sticking with the Alsatian theme, the wines from Domaines Schlumberger are a must for red wine enthusiasts. Pinot Noir from Alsace is reminiscent of Pinot Noir from the popular Burgundy region in France and is not as full-bodied as some other red varietals available. I suggest trying the Domaines Schlumberger ‘Les Princes Abbés’ Pinot Noir 2012. This wine offers great balance and acidity with beautiful notes of black cherry and baking spices. Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile food wines and can be paired with an array of dishes, making it a great fit for potlucks or other functions where guests may not all be eating the same thing. You can pick up a bottle of the Domaines Schlumberger ‘Les Princes Abbés’ Pinot Noir 2012 for around $25 a bottle. I recommend pairing it with game dishes such as duck or lamb.
Wines recommended in this article
- Famille Hugel Estate Gewurztraminer 2012, averages $25 a bottle
- Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2011, averages $20 a bottle
- Domaines Schlumberger ‘Les Princes Abbés’ Pinot Noir 2012, averages $25 a bottle
Justin Hall is the Wine Director of Ember’s Wood Grill and a Certified Sommelier through
The Court of Master Americas