Tasting the Pinot Gris Wines of Alsace, 2016

alsaceThe region is best known for Pinot Blanc and Riesling, but Pinot Gris is a major varietal in the Alsace — so much so that the region’s reps sent us four selections from the area for us to cover.

Let’s dive into four major Alsatian Pinot Gris wines to see how they stack up.

2011 Albert Mann Vin d’Alsace Pinot Gris Rosenberg – Honey and peaches and cream, oh my! A gently fruity and mildly perfumed wine, it’s a pretty sipper with a body that pushes hard on the fruitier notes, those peaches giving way to simpler citrus on the finish. Easygoing, if a little plain at times. B+ / $25

2010 Louis Sipp Pinot Gris  “Nature’S” – Night and day vs. most of the field, this is a wildly sweet wine that you might well mistake for a muscat, or possibly a dessert offering of some kind. Pungent with notes of overripe peaches, orange creamsicles, and Ricola cough drops, this is better saved for the end of the meal, not the start. B- / $28

2011 Riefle Bonheur Convivial Pinot Gris Alsace Moderately sweet, with a tropical bent and notes of ripe banana. Some perfumed notes add a touch of intrigue, but a bit of astringency mars the back end. Less of a blowout than the Louis Sipp, but still on the digestif side of the fence. B- / $17

2011 Hugel Pinot Gris Alsace – Arguably the biggest name in Alsatian wine, this pinot gris comes complete with a Ralph Steadman illustration on the label. Very aromatic and floral, this is one of the driest wines in the collection, a pale and perfumed sipper that melds white flowers with notes of melon, white peach, and tart gooseberry. B+ / $22

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