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Pierre Sparr Riesling 2016

Riesling from Alsace, France
    12% ABV
    • TP90
    • W&S90
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    12% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Alsace has been celebrated for its lovely, dry white wines for centuries. In the heart of Alsace’s finest district, the Haut-Rhin, Maison Pierre Sparr follows a 300-year-old tradition of winemaking that began in 1680, during the reign of King Louis XIV. Today, the devotion to the land, the attention to the smallest detail and the uncompromising quest for excellence can been seen in every bottle bearing the Sparr crest.

    This pale yellow Riesling has green reflections. The wine opens with fresh and alluring aromas of lemon, grapefruit and peach. Upon aeration, notes of sweet cherry blossoms are framed by minerally firestone character. On the palate, impressions of freshness and elegance dominate this well-balanced wine.

    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.

    Riesling

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    A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

    In the Glass

    Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings more redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.

    Perfect Pairings

    Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

    Sommelier Secret

    It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

    YNG289350_2016 Item# 490947