2018 Albert Boxler Pinot Gris
Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Wine Details for 2018 Albert Boxler Pinot Gris
|Type of Wine||
: German Riesling, grown along the Rhine, is one of the most famous white grape varieties worldwide. Winemakers rarely blend this highly acidic varietal with other grapes. A bit behind Riesling, Muller-Thurgau is another popular varietal in Germany, obtained from a crossing of Riesling and Silvaner. Silvaner is the third-most cultivated white varietal in Germany.
: One of the most fascinating aspects of wine grapes is their ability to grow in different regions, countries and continents and be distinctly recognizable by the terroir in which they reside. Not all grape varieties have this luxury, but the Pinot Gris grape is somewhat of an anomaly; from its coloration to its adaptability, to its origin and its terroir reflective qualities. The varietal, which originated in Burgundy, France is now grown all over the world, having had successful resulting wines, many of which have their own unique style and flavor.
The Pinot Gris grape varietal hails from the noble Pinot family, being a mutation of the legendary Pinot Noir grape. The grape, itself, is peculiar as it ranges in color from gray-tinged pink to blue (“gris” meaning “gray” in French). Unlike most white grapes, such as Pinot Blanc and Riesling, Pinot Gris actually looks more like a red wine grape.
Pinot Gris is early ripening and thrives in cool climates such as Alsace in France, Baden in Germany (where it is commonly-known as Grauburgunder) and Alto Adige and Veneto in northeastern Italy (where it is called Pinot Grigio). Its ability to reflect terroir is astounding and no doubt a trait it shares with Pinot Noir (though Pinot Noir is a more fussy grape and less able to adapt to warmer climes). It is highly adaptable to a range of terroirs, including the volcanic hillside soils of Alsace, to the diverse soils of Baden, Germany such as loem, loess, granite, clay, limestone and sand. Pinot Gris also feels right at home in Alto Adige, where the ancient sea bed provides an array of soil types such as clay, chalk deposits and over 150 different rock types which also helps to shape the hilly terrain and mineral rich terroir.
Pinot Gris can be vinified in several different styles, each with its own flavor profile. Compared to other French whites, Pinot Gris tends to be less aromatic than Sauvignon Blanc and drier than Chardonnay. The typical Pinot Gris is full-bodied with a fresh, spicy flavor and notes of tropical fruit, stone fruit, or citrus; with riper grapes being less acidic. Although the majority of Pinot Gris produced in France is fashioned in this style, a small amount of prized Alsace Pinot Gris is produced in a sweet dessert styled wine, labeled under the title, Vendage Tardive or VT (meaning late harvest). These prized grapes are the result of Botrytis or Noble Rot, which is a beneficial fungus which attacks the grape, shriveling it to a raisin-like state, locking in heavenly high sugars and flavors. These wines are more age worthy and highly sought after.
Italian Pinot Gris (Grigio) wines are light-bodied and crisp, with a flavor profile of pear, green apple and stone fruit, with floral aromas such as honeysuckle. The Italian vinification process begins with an early harvest in an attempt to retain the grape’s naturally high and fresh acidity. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks also helps to retain the grape’s “zing.” If barrels were used for fermentation, it would add palate weight and sweet vanilla aromas. The “everyday” Italian Pinot Gris (Grigio) is fashioned in the former which results in a clean, fresh and simple style at a lower monetary value. This is one of the more popular styles and is voraciously purchased on the US market.
The German name for Pinot Gris is Grauburgunder (which translates to “Grey Burgundian”). It is widely cultivated in the regions of Baden, Rheinhesseh and Pfalz, where the styling is more mineral-driven (compliments of the regions’ mineral rich terroir) and has a higher level of acidity. Floral aromas and citrusy flavors come through beautifully; the wines are often tinged with exotic spice notes. Of course, not only is Pinot Gris highly influenced by terroir, but also winemaker which is evident in the Baden locale, where producers focus on richer, fuller-bodied, often sweeter and more fragrant wines.
The versatility of the Pinot Gris grape is incredibly impressive. Its reflective nature has allowed the variety to prosper around the world; whether it is the crisp and clean everyday drinking Pinot Grigio from Italy, Grauburgunder cultivated from the rocky terroir of Germany or the lusciously sweet dessert Pinot Gris from the mountainous region of Alsace. Pinot Gris has become one of the most important grape varieties for cool climate vintners and produces some of the most frequently purchased wines in the world.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: 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.