Today's Sponsor
Final 3 days to Receive a Free $15 Gift Certificate! See home page for details

In This Issue
 Serious Pinot Gris Following up on last week's inquiry into Italy's top spots for Pinot Grigio, we introduce the modest proposal that the world's most "serious" Pinot Gris is made in Alsace.
 Lucien Albrecht 2005 "Cuvée Romanus" Alsace Pinot Gris ($16) This impressive Pinot Gris brings together limes and melons, orange blossoms and mint with subtle minerality and excellent balance and length. Final 3 days to Receive a Free $15 Gift Certificate! See home page for details
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

Serious Pinot Gris

Last week, I argued the proposition that much of the Pinot Grigio grown in the hilly Collio, Colli Orientale and Trentino-Alto Adige regions of Northeastern Italy exceeds expectations for a grape variety that's hugely popular but all too often made in an insipid mass-market style.

Today, let's turn to Pinot Gris - which, you'll remember, is the identical grape using a French moniker - for a look at another region that can handle it with exceptional competence: Alsace, on the West Bank of the Rhine River, a picturesque but historically embattled region that's moved between Germany and France as a spoil of war so many times that it's sometimes hard to tell at a glance which country you're in. German family names abound in the region, often coupled with French given names, like today's featured wine from Lucien Albrecht.

Alsatian wines, indeed, are in a category all their own, boasting a style that - to my taste buds, at least - is neither characteristically French nor typically German but uniquely Alsatian. The wines are almost always white (and the few offbeat reds I've tried have rarely been compelling), and they're typically intense, dry or nearly so, and blessed with a lovely, stony minerality that many wine enthusiasts crave. The King of Alsatian varieties is surely Riesling, but other varieties earn legitimate places in the royal court, particularly Gewürztraminer and, getting to the point of today's sermon, Pinot Gris.

For many years Alsatian producers labeled Pinot Gris as "Tokay" or "Tokay Pinot Gris" on the basis of a purported medieval Hungarian connection (mirroring a similar Italian story about Tocai Friulano), but the T-word is being phased out after the Hungarians won exclusive rights to it in a long-running, controversial dispute in the European courts.

The name notwithstanding, the wine's the thing, and Alsatian Pinot Gris is almost always a safe choice when you're looking for a serious example of this not-always-serious grape. Today's tasting, the recently arrived 2005 "Cuvée Romanus" from Lucien Albrecht, is named after Romanus Albrecht, the family's first recorded wine maker, who lived in 1425.

Lucien Albrecht Lucien Albrecht 2005 "Cuvée Romanus" Alsace Pinot Gris ($16)

Transparent straw color. Limes and honeydew melons, fresh and snappy aromas and flavors, with delicate notes of orange blossom and mint on the nose and a fine "rainwater over rocks" minerality on the palate. A slight touch of sweetness is nicely balanced by mouth-watering acidity in a rather full-bodied flavor, with tart and juicy limes in a very long finish. A very impressive wine, demonstrates the potential of serious Pinot Gris. U.S. importer: Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, N.Y.; Martin Sinkoff Selections. (June 27, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: It served well with a diverse collection of small bites - Hainanese chicken and lettuce wraps; fresh figs and mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, and udon noodles in a light mix of hoisin sauce with a peanut and sesame oil and lime juice vinaigrette. The stunning match on the plate, though, was with chicken breast scented with fresh ginger and lemongrass, which beautifully echoed the wine's citric and herbal flavors.

VALUE: No complaint about a mid-teens price for a white wine of this quality.

WHEN TO DRINK: Drink up while it's fresh and delicate; a synthetic "cork" also argues against keeping longer than a year or two.

The U.S. importer offers a fact sheet about Lucien Albrecht and his wines at this link,
with links there to PDF files on the various wines including the Cuvée Romanus. The winery Website is available in English, German and French. Click the national flag of your choice at

The U.S. importer provides state-by-state contact information for its sales directors here:
Compare prices and locate vendors for Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris on

To read and comment on today's column in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, you can click directly to it at

Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.

To contact me by E-mail, write I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device. Final 3 days to Receive a Free $15 Gift Certificate!

See home page for details.

Save 25%!
Robert Mondavi 2001 Stags Leap District Sauvignon Blanc
A stellar wine that deftly balances oak with stainless steel, keeping that vivid fruit expression of Sauvignon Blanc. Hooray!
Retail $24
WinebuysPrice $17.99

Save 45%!
Ferdinando Principiano 2001 Barolo Boscareto
Big-bodied and lavish Nebbiolo from a man who submitted a school essay (years ago) declaring his life goal of helping his papa pick grapes.
Retail $65
Winebuys Price $34.99

Save 40%!
MadFish 2003 Shiraz
The 2003 MadFish has it all. It's rich and ripe, yet with a seductive lightness. Try it with a grilled pork tenderloin, ribs and even fresh salmon.
Retail $15
Winebuys price $8.99

Browse Wine Under $15

Shop New Arrivals

Browse all our Hand-Picked Wines

All wines always up to 50% off
100% Love-It-Or-Your-Money-Back-Guarantee
Everyday $9.95 FedEx flat rate - any size order

 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions, click here


For information, E-mail


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives