ALSACE is a mostly-white region whose trademarks include: varying sweetness levels (though the wines below are fairly dry), oak-free winemaking, varietal labeling (yay!) and Germanic-looking ‘flute’ bottles (which must be used by law). One of France’s easier appellations to get your head around, the vast majority of Alsace’s wines fall into the generous AC Alsace category. Generally speaking, the wines are loved by the wine trade and press but kept at arm’s length by a wary – and mistaken! – public. If you haven’t tried Alsatian whites you really are missing a trick; these are super-fruity, distinctive wines that richly deserve a wider audience – give them a shot!
Cave d’Orschwiller Pinot Blanc 2012 €12.49
Gentle and supple, with gorgeous stone fruit aromas and a textured, off-dry palate that has soft acidity and lovely rich notes of yellow apple, white peach and patisserie. Fleshy and tender, with an easy drinking, amiable personality. Beautiful to enjoy on its own but would be sublime with sashimi or hot oysters.
Cave d’Orschwiller Riesling 2011 €12.99
Round and ripe with big aromas and a midweight, energetic wash of lemon ‘n’ lime, honeyed apple and apricot, enlivened by a spine of smoky minerality and orange peel. Viscous and concentrated, with good typicity for the style. Fruity enough to drink on its own but pairs well with tandoori chicken, pad Thai or crab cakes too.
Cave d’Orschwiller Gewurztraminer 2012 €16.49
Alluring nose of apricot and honey with a porcine, oily palate that is round, generous and emphatically fruity. Lychee, mango and cream are evident, too, in this distinctive white. Succulent and rich, without ever being cloying. Great character and balance. Enjoy on its own, with stinky, soft cheeses, spicy lobster curry or lighter desserts.
Cave d’Orschwiller Cremant d’Alsace 2009 €22
Citrus, green fruit and yeast notes to the fore with the stylish, Champagne-method sparkling wine. The suave palate is crisp and taut, with intriguing hints of slate, minerals and light toast. The fine mousse bringing a lovely sheen of luxury. Enjoy as an aperitif or pair with shellfish, caviar or white truffles risotto.