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Full-flavoured and rich-tasting Alsace pinot gris from this outstanding producer. This would go well with risotto for instance.
Product Code: AL11481
View all products by Domaine Albert Boxler
Albert Boxler, from whom the domaine takes its name, was the grandfather of current owner and winemaker Jean and was the man who took the initiative in bottling his own wines just after the Second World War. The label that is still in use today was painted at that time by Albert’s cousin.Jean took over from his father Jean-Marc in 1996 and oversees the family holdings centred on the village of Niedermorschwihr, not far from Colmar. The cellars and family home are to be found at the very foot of the grand cru Sommerberg vineyard and Jean makes wine from separate parcels of vines within this great granite hillside, making some as grand cru but also declassifying some into his reserve wines. To differentiate between the bottled parcels the Boxlers use a code on each label so that consumers can know the source of the grapes for each bottling without the domaine breaching the labelling laws of the Alsace appellation. So, for example, a B on the label represents the Brand grand cru vineyard in which the family own vines, while E represents Eckberg, a lieu-dit within the Sommerberg, and D equals Duttenstein, also part of the Sommerberg. They produce riesling, pinot gris, pinot blanc, gewürztraminer, sylvaner and muscat and also make some fine sparkling Crémant wines using traditional methods and ageing in oak foudres in cellars below the Boxler house.
The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, and give or take some pinot noir production almost all the wines are white. The hierarchy of appellations is simple to understand too, with AC Vin d’Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and AC Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines being all you need to know. Vendange Tardive and Sélection des Grains Nobles are two further designations within those classifications for wines made from later-harvested grapes that are higher in sugar and wines made from grapes affected by botrytis (aka noble rot) respectively. Grand cru wines must be made with grapes from a named vineyard site of that designation harvested at lower yields than those permitted for AC Vin d’Alsace wines. Though they are not all equal in terms of quality and many were granted such status to satisfy local political demands, many of these sites are producing some of the greatest wines of the region. There are about 50 such grand cru sites in Alsace and wines from these sites can only be made from four noble varieties – riesling, muscat, pinot gris and gewurztraminer – though the grand cru vineyards themselves can be planted with any permitted variety. Curiously, though, it is often the producer name and brand that is considered of higher importance than cru, and some producers do not use the name of a grand cru vineyard on the labels of wines made from those sites. Different producers are known for their house styles and it is often this, and the trusted quality of their ‘brands’, that attracts the savvy drinker. The grape varieties are varied. Gewurztraminer is a grape that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. Highly aromatic, with scents of lychee, rose petals and spice (gewürz is the German word for spice), sometimes very dry and sometimes richly sweet, gewurztraminer from Alsace can accommodate many difficult food pairings. They include Thai and other aromatic Asian foods, ginger-infused foods, and washed rind cheeses such as Munster.Muscat, so often made to be sweet in other regions, is nearly always bone dry in Alsace. Perfumed and grapy, muscat makes an excellent aperitif and partner to asparagus. Pinot blanc is an excellent everyday wine, not so aromatic, clean and round and often blended with auxerrois with which it share a similarly clean scent and flavour profile. Pinot gris produces full, rich wines, less spicy than gewurztraminer and capable of long ageing. It can be a superb match for food, particularly roast goose, smoked fish, Oriental dishes and a varied cheeseboard. Sylvaner is now an endangered species, being superseded by other varieties. It makes lively, refreshing whites with good acidity that in the best examples can age surprisingly gracefully. It is often drunk with food in Alsace restaurants, particularly onion tart, ham, bacon and pork.Riesling is, for many cognoscenti, the region’s greatest wine. Here it produces dry, fuller-bodied styles with more rounded acidity. Like its lighter, often sweeter German counterparts, it develops great complexity with age, taking on its distinctive petrol aroma. The red pinot noir grape ripens easily in Alsace and more and more wines are being made, with more substance, colour and aroma than their historical forbears. Some from the best producers are showing the ability to age well.Please see our How to Buy Alsace Guide in the Wine World & News section of our website for a more detailed feature on the Alsace region.
The seven main grape varieties of Alsace all flourished in 2012, which is something of a rarity. A damp spring was transformed into a hot and dry summer with September cooling enough to allow the grapes to finish ripening in ideal conditions. The 2012s are elegant, ripe but lower in alcohol, and precise with lovely acidity and length. Rieslings were very pure and will benefit for bottle time, pinot gris, blanc and noir were all successful, and muscat shone in particular.
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