Selections for November 2017

Another Repeat Offender / Pleaser


The white grape Sylvaner is seen mainly from northern Italy, Germany, and here in the gorgeous eastern-France area of Alsace.  For many producers it’s just a workhorse variety, overachieving with a dependable crop but rarely regarded as a “great” winegrape.  – And I love it when that happens.

I love it when the German region of Franken realizes there’s already enough Riesling hanging around, and  an alternative is exploited.  The best Sylvaner in the world now comes from Franken, Germany!

I love it when Alsace, which calls Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer its “best feet forward,” gives unusual respect to the also-rans like Pinot Blanc and . . . Sylvaner.

Yep, I love an underdog getting its day – and so did you twelve months ago.  – That’s when we gave you the 2014 version of this Alsatian Sylvaner.  You got it.  You bought us out.  We ordered more.  You bought us out again . . . What’s up with that?  Didn’t you know Sylvaner is Alsace’s “also-ran” grape?!

To the nose: 

Cantaloupe and apples, shyly. 

In the mouth:

Lime peel verging on celery (strange as that sounds).  A tart white dart.

This kicks it with fish dishes, and I suspect it will also work with turkey, like every other wine currently on our shelves!

A Summer Refresher in new clothes

2016 HB - PICPOUL de PINET, Languedoc, France

Yep, it’s THAT wine.  Lots of you have already enjoyed HB over the summer season.  Now, try it with turkey!  After all, the main Wine & Bird Idea is to apply less-oaky, higher-acid, more fruit-forward wines to the fare.  Think of all that weighty food . . . Picpoul gives it wings!

“Picpoul” is the actual name of the grape, implying “lip stinger” in old Southern French.  “Picpoul de Pinet” is the name of the wine region beside a saltwater lagoon replete with shellfish farms and hordes of flamingos, barely separated from the Mediterranean itself.  To say, then, that HB is made by flamingos is entirely accurate and virtually meaningless.

And the wine is, too  . . . accurate and virtually meaningless, that is.  What I’m suggesting is it does precisely what it’s supposed to do, which is next to nothing.  This is a “barely-there,” simple refresher whispering mere rumors of citrus and melon and fresh apples.  It is meant to appear then disappear . . . which is what the whole 56-case pallet of this wine we buy each year is just about to do.