Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wine and Weather in the Alsace....!

Wether in the Alsace or in other wine regions, weather conditions continue to challenge wine makers. My number one source for info in the Alsace, is my friend Philippe Durst, the export manager at DOPFF "Au Moulin". In the middle of July this is what he reported. ( Photo courtesy Philippe )

"With the thermometer sometimes close to 40°C in the afternoons, we are long way from the -10 and even -20°C that we have experienced in the winter between november and right until Easter. It is tough not having felt spring in between!

And still we are long way from grape picking: at this stage, the grapes have the colour of green peas and they are best suited for producing ball bearings!"

Here in British Columbia weather conditions have not been ideal and unless we get nothing but sunshine for the next month and more, the Vancouver island wineries will be really challenged to produce a decent wine. In the Okanagan Valley it will also be a vintage that will be difficult to work with, except for the best of vintners. In a direct communication with Bradley Cooper of Township 7 and Black Cloud wineries here is his take on this year.

"The crop this year will be full of challenges. The two winters previous to this last one were tough on some varietals. The cold snap of early October 2009 was another kick in the pants. A lot of vines slowed by the late, wet spring will show remarable adaptive ability and appear to catch-up. But the actual grape clusters seem to lag behind the appearnce of the vine as a whole. Pinot varieties seem to be recovering quicker than Merlot and in some cases, Chardonnay. It's a mixed bag, very site specific."

So is this the year we will see a lot more sparkling wine being produced? It likes the higher acid from less mature grapes.

During my recent visit to Alsace, I fell in love once again with their great wines, but I now also have a particular fondness for the "Crémant d’Alsace". Crémants by law have to be aged for a minimum of 9 months. Champagne a minimum of 15 months. So what do you get when you age a Crémant for 24 months? You get Crémant Excellence Brut from La Cave des Vignerons de Pfaffenheim.

With an impressive complexity and a fine mousse
this bubbly was pure pleasure to drink. Toasted almond and hazelnut on the nose followed by a richness on the palate, its no wonder they call it "Excellence".

I have to once again extend a big 'thank you' to Lucas DE JONG owner along with his wife Karin, of the Hotel Husseren les Chateaux for introducing me to an excellent winery in the village of Voegtlinshoffen where Eliane Ginglinger weaves her magic at Ginglinger Fix. Eliane produces outstanding Grand Crus wines using grapes from two Grand Crus d'Alsace, the Hatschbourg and the Goldert.
That is my cousin Gerda, who drove me from Holland to Alsace and that is Lucas de Jong posing with the delightfull Eliane Ginglinger. Her beautiful blue eyes are brilliant and sparkling and are matched by the brilliance and sparkle of her
Crémant d’Alsace"

And I just loved her Riesling 2008 Grand Crus 'Goldert' and her Gewurztraminer 2008 'Hatschbourg'.
Once again I must stop and take an 'Alsace' break. I have one chilling in my fridge. So until more on Alsace in my next blog entry, here are my cheers to everyone!

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