Alsatian wines to try

November 27, 2012
Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

We could spend our lives and our savings exploring Alsace wines. Here are a few that will make an excellent start, including a splurge on a famous producer’s pinot gris and a bargain for a Grand Cru Riesling.

Willm Riesling 2009 Grand Cru Kirchberg

★★★

Alsace, France, $22

This is an exceptional price for a Grand Cru Riesling. The wine is bone dry and electrifying with its acidity and structure, and should age exceedingly well. Bravo. Willm also makes some of my favorite Cremant d’Alsace sparkling wines.

M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Central Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Watergate Wine & Beverage. Available in Maryland at Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick. Available in Virginia at the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop in Reston, Whole Foods Market (Charlottesville).

Charles Schleret Riesling 2005 Herrenweg

★★★

Alsace, France, $27

Here’s an opportunity to try a Riesling with some age on it. Yet because the terroir and the structure of the wine are so fine, it tastes relatively young. It’s beginning to flesh out more into tree-fruit flavors than stony minerality, but this wine should continue to age well for a few more years. Buy some for now and more for later.

Potomac Selections: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages. Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Market in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Maison du Vin in Great Falls, Market Cellars in Reston; on the list at 2941 in Falls Church.

Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris 2010 Cuvee Ste. Catherine

★★★

Alsace, France, $50

Any wine from Domaine Weinbach is worth the effort and expense. Run by Collette Faller and her daughters Laurence and Catherine, the winery carries on the traditions of Capuchin monks who founded the estate, now using modern biodynamic viticulture. This pinot gris is luxurious.

Bacchus: On the list in the District at Corduroy, Eola, Johnny’s Half Shell, Ripple, CityZen. Available in Maryland at Calvert Discount Liquors in Cockeysville, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Wine Merchant in Lutherville. J.W. Sieg in Virginia: Available at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Au Domaine in Alexandria; on the list at Brabo in Alexandria, the Inn at Little Washington.

Mader Riesling 2011

★★1 / 2

Alsace, France, $19

Fresh and lively, this young Riesling will refresh your palate and your spirits.

Elite: Available in the District at Burka’s Wine & Liquor. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars and Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Grand Cru in Arlington, Whole Foods Markets (Alexandria, Arlington, Tysons Corner, Reston and Vienna).

Domaine Ehrhart Pinot Auxerrois 2008 Val St. Gregoire

★★

Alsace, France, $17

Auxerrois is the second-most- common white variety in Alsace, after Riesling, but it is usually used in Cremant sparkling wines or blends called gentil or edelzwicker. The grape is relatively low in acidity and is related to chardonnay, so it yields a fleshy wine with appealing tree-fruit flavors.

Washington Wholesale in the District: Available at MacArthur Beverages, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor; on the list at Veritas. Reliable Churchill in Maryland: Available at North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits in Baltimore. On the list at Cafe Normandie in Annapolis; Fork & Wrench, Kali’s Court and the Helmand in Baltimore.

— D.M.

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