2017 Pierre Sparr Mambourg Gewurztraminer

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2017 Pierre Sparr Mambourg Gewurztraminer

No written review provided | 94 W&S
A concentrated nose of Damask rose and juicy peach makes for a heady opening on this wine. A hint of grapefruit-peel spice plays on the juicy, medium-sweet palate. Along with citrus freshness, this creates a lovely balance of richness and freshness.

Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

Wine Details on 2017 Pierre Sparr Mambourg Gewurztraminer

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Producer Pierre Sparr
Region Alsace: This region's specific position between France and Germany has made it into a peculiar combination between them in many ways, including its mixed culture of eating and drinking. Elements of both countries can be found embroidered deep into the soul of this special place that shares their traits but doesn't entirely belong to either. When it comes to wine, a wonderful example is the use of a typically German grape Riesling, but in a very much altered style compared to the sweet wines one would normally associate with the name. The wines made here are rich, fruity, relying on lovely spikes of acidity and great texture to deliver complexity and depth without the use of oak. The sweet, elusive aromatics of peach and potpourri provide a wonderful contrast to the dryness of these famous whites, known for their superb balance and graceful poise.

There is so much spirit to Alsace's wines that one could spend months, even years drinking the same vintage and still find new levels of delicious aromas unfolding, never out of ways to enchant and always luring in, like a siren's song. Alsace offers mainly still white wines, sparkling Cremant d'Alsace, occasionally Pinot Noir-based roses and rarely reds.
Subregion Haut Rhin
Appellation Beblenheim
Climat/Vineyard Mambourg
Cru Grand Cru
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Alsace White: Dry, refreshing, and (typically) infused with the purest form of Riesling; Alsatian whites are loved all over the globe. They will mesmerize your senses and expand your mind through their immense purity, compelling textures, and fluent terroir expression. Get immersed and fall in love with this utterly unique style of wine.
Varietal Gewurztraminer: The wines of Germany, Austria and Alsace are all too often lumped into one single category: Germany, Austria and Alsace. Whether this is due to the proximity of the winegrowing regions or the simplest way to categorize a slew of confusing wines, it does a disservice to the many wonderful and many different grape varietals that inhabit these respective locations. Not only does the terroir of each region vary, but the grapes are very much individual in their own right, unique and possess their own distinguishing qualities. One such grape, Gewurztraminer, or Gewurtz (as it is often shortened) is among this grouping, but deserves to be singled out in a positive light and examined to be fully appreciated and understood.

The Gewurztraminer grape is distinctive in many ways; one being its pink skin. Due to its pink color, the pigment remains in the wine giving it a deep golden, sometimes copper color. The variety also gets its distinctive aroma from the presence of monoterpenes (compounds found in the essential oils extracted from fruit or other plants) in the skins. The primary aromatic descriptions used to define Gewurztraminer are typically lychee, rose petal, Turkish delight, tropical fruit and perfume. On the palate, it is marked by its full texture and low acidity with flavors of stone fruits such as mango, peach and apricot and spices such as ginger and cinnamon.

Gewurztraminer is quite versatile and can be fashioned in various styles, ranging from dry to sweet, late harvested or dessert wines. Perhaps the most notable wines produced from Gewurztraminer are the labels including the designations Vendange Tardive (VT) and Selection des Grains Nobles (SGN). Vendange Tardive is a particular classification which signifies a late harvest wine with greater than usual concentration of natural sugars which is the result of the grapes having achieved a longer hang time on the vine with minimum required ripeness levels. Selection des Grains Nobles wines are rare due to the grapes being affected by Botrytis Cinerea (a beneficial fungus which attacks the grapes) or noble rot, as well as the tedious picking process. These grapes have reached even higher sugar levels due to the extreme concentration of sugars and flavors trapped in the grapes during the process of noble rot. Even some drier examples will have residual sugar in the wine in order to counterbalance the drying phenolics often found in the resulting wine. The grape is generally quite high in sugars due, in part, to its late-ripening and subsequently elevated alcohol levels can serve not only to show heat in the aftertaste, but to further highlight phenolics.

Much like Riesling, Gewurztraminer is highly reflective of the terroir in which it is cultivated. The grape reflects the nature of its soil or origin. For example, marly-limestone terroirs produce deep, rich and spicy wines with a good acidic backbone. Granite, sandstone or quartz soils can produce aromatic and elegant wines with lots of fruit, while limestone terroirs will produce full-bodied wines with strong fruit and good acidity.

The grape prefers cooler climate locations so many of the “new world” winegrowing locations do not suit the needs of the grape. There are small holdings in the Alto Adige appellation of Northern Italy, the Penedes region of Spain and cooler climate locations in southern Chile. Gewurztraminer grows extremely well in Pfalz, Germany (where it likely originated) and in the Styria and Burgenland appellations of Austria; however, one location trumps all others: Alsace, France.

While Alsace is not the ancestral home of Gewurztraminer, it is arguably its spiritual home. For it has found the perfectly attuned climate and terroir to thrive. And thrive it does… in the rich clay soils of the region, which lies between the Vosges Mountains and the French border with Germany, marked by the Rhine River. The Vosges play a vital role in defining the region’s terroir; they not only provide protection from the prevailing westerly winds, but also cast a rain shadow over the area, contributing to the low rainfall of its continental climate. The rich soil deposits are evidence of the glaciers which long ago shaped the mountains, foothills and the plains where the key viticultural areas are located. This precious terror is comprised of sandstone, granite and volcanic rock types in the foothills, clay-rich limestone and marlstone on the alluvial plains below.

The best examples of the varietal are generally regarded as being from the Grand Cru vineyards of Alsace. The VT and SGN wines from these locations are some of the finest and longest lived wines in the world. The Gewurztraminer grape is one that is often misunderstood, mistaken, or neglected entirely due to the difficulty of its spelling or pronunciation; however it is a unique and glorious gem that deserves attention and appreciation. As the great Jancis Robinson states, “…the wine world without Gewurztraminer would be a very much poorer place.”

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