Back in May I joined Lucien Albrecht winemaker Jėrȏme Keller for some wine (duh) and snacks at a small media get-together. I said “yes” because many of these wines are like old friends, particularly the sparkling and Pinot Blanc. It was an impressive set of bottles, and here are my favorites of the lot.
Lucien Albrecht Sparkling and White Wines
(Note that the 2018 wines were recently bottled and a couple months away from release when I drank them. Their condition at the time was excellent, so I only imagine them currently even better.)
Lucien Albrecht NV Rosé ($23)
When I worked at a Seattle wine shop (Esquin), for many on the staff this bottle was the answer to the question, “What wine is always in your fridge?” Rosé sparkling wine is at the top of my favorites list, and at just over 2o bucks, it’s hard to beat this bottle. Made from Pinot Noir.
Lucien Albrecht 2018 Pinot Blanc Balthazar ($14)
This wine is a slammin’ bargain, so fresh and tasty. Strangely/surprisingly, this wine is actually 70% Auxerrois. So how/why is it labeled “Pinot Blanc”? Good question. I reached out to the folks representing Wines of Alsace, who got in touch with the Committee of Alsace Wines (CIVA). Here’s what I found out.
- Producers are allowed to label their wines “Pinot Blanc” regardless of the Auxerrois percentage in it, as “Pinot Blanc” is considered an appellation in this case, now, instead of the grape variety.
- If the wine is 100% Auxerrois, it can be labeled either Auxerrois or Pinot Blanc.
- However, if the wine is a blend and not 100% Auxerrois, it cannot be labeled Auxerrois, and must be labeled Pinot Blanc.
These rules should be changed. Though perhaps for many markets the word “Pinot” in the name gives it a familiar association, unlike Auxerrois which is probably wine anxiety-inducing in comparison.
Enjoy this wine on a deck chair under a pool-adjacent umbrella.
Lucien Albrecht 2018 Gewurztraminer Réserve ($23)
This is a grape that’s been hit-or-miss for me. Dry versions are often stripped of the grape’s aromatic/textural wonders, but too-sweet Gewurztraminers can be overwrought and oily. (Here’s a good dry one from California, BTW.) This offering from Albrecht, however, is classic Gewurz. This is what the grape should be, textbook stuff. There’s a decent amount of sugar in this Gewurz, but you’d never know because it drinks quite dry. Break out the spicy food.
Lucien Albrecht Riesling 2017 Grand Cru Spiegel ($30)
A big step up from the (very fine) regular bottling. “Riesling really shows where it grows,” says Keller. So I can only imagine what a special site Speigel is. Almost completely dry and very age-worthy. It’s cool to find another white wine at 30 bucks or less that can greatly reward your patience. (This Italian Verdicchio is another recent gem along those lines.)
So clear some space in your fridge. Have a couple bottles of sparkling rosé in there for brunch, Tuesday night, grilled salmon, whatever. Reach for some PB when you need a glass after surviving a stiflingly hot, crowded subway nightmare. Maybe the Gewurz with Nashville hot chicken? And the GC Riesling with a roast pork/broccoli rabe/provolone sandwich, transport you to Philly (food-wise).
This post was written on a day where the heat index in Brooklyn at 2:11pm EST was 110 degrees.Tags: alsace, france, french sparkling rosé, gewurztraminer, pinot blanc, riesling, white wine