Alsatian Pinot Noir?

When you think of Alsace wines (if you think of Alsace wines that is…) you probably don’t think about red wines.  And certainly the region is much more well known for rich Rieslings, glorious Gewürztraminer, and the gray cousin of the noir form of Pinot.  However, they do also make some pretty tasty pinot noir if you get the chance to try one. They are not that easy to find given the small volume of production, so when I saw one on the list at a local Bozeman restaurant (Blackbird Kitchen) I decided to go for it.  Andre Ostertag is a great winemaker and is imported by none other than the visionary and legendary Kermit Lynch.  That alone should tell you this is probably classic in style and Ostertage Alsace Pinot noirhigh quality.  It was also very affordable (I think retail this sells for $25-30) which is a bonus.  This is the entry level pinot noir from the Domaine and is made from younger vines and aged in stainless steel.  The nose shows bright red berry fruits with red currant, strawberry, and tart cherry alongside lovely spice notes (cardamom, cinnamon), orange peel, and some savory/umami hints at the end.  The palate is lovely and elegant, definitely the lighter side of pinot noir with vivacious acidity, but plenty of ripe fruit and spice.  This is from a ripe vintage and you can taste that, but it certainly doesn’t feel heavy or overripe at all.  I found it very enjoyable and it paired nicely with pork loin.  Alsatian pinot noir may become more common if the temperatures continue to warm and allow this northern region to consistently ripen red grapes.  I certainly wouldn’t mind that as I find them to be delicious and I enjoy the cooler climate aspect that keeps them delicate and ethereal.  These wines are very versatile at the table and given the lovely red fruit profile with low tannin are almost certainly to be crowd pleasers at a dinner.  So if you happen to run across one, branch out and give it a shot!  I doubt you will be disappointed.

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