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Pierre Sparr Reserve Pinot Gris 2001

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Alsace, France
  • WS87
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Winemaker Notes

Pinot Gris is a gracefully mellow, creamy, and fruity white wine with rich complex aromas and lovely ripe fruit flavors. A superb alternative to Chardonnay. An excellent match with foie gras, game, fowl and red meat.

Critical Acclaim

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Pierre Sparr

Pierre Sparr

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Pierre Sparr, Alsace, France
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The Pierre Sparr estate was created by one of the oldest and most prestigious wine producing families in France's Alsace region, established since 1680. It produces an award-winning and diverse range of 32 different red, white, still, sparkling, dry and sweet wines and owns 80 acres of vineyards spread across five different Grand Crus – Brand, Mambourg, Schlossberg, Schoenenbourg and Sporen. Any additional grapes are purchased under strict quality control with other growers, for which Sparr pays a premium. In July 2007, passionate Alsatian winemaker Vincent Laillier was brought in to revolutionize winemaking at Sparr from vineyard practices through to bottling processes. Typical of the region, Sparr wines are rich in fruit and firmly structured. With a belief that mature wines are more exciting, the winery will regularly hold back top wines from the market until they are at their optimal drinking window.

With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.

The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s 51 Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.

Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsatian Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.

Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsatian wines are single-varietal bottlings and unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.

Pinot Gris/Grigio

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One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity, so full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear, and almond skin. Alsatian styles are aromatic, richly textured and often relatively high in alcohol. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is much more subdued, light, simple, and easy to drink.

Perfect Pairings

Alsace is renowned for its potent food–pork, foie gras, and charcuterie. With its viscous nature, Pinot Gris fits in harmoniously with these heavy hitters. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works better with simple salads, a wide range of seafood, and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Outside of France and Italy, the decision by the producer whether to label as “Gris” or “Grigio” serves as a strong indicator as to the style of wine in the bottle—the former will typically be a richer, more serious rendition while the latter will be bright, fresh, and fun.

DVA3809615_2001 Item# 53221