Pierre Sparr Pinot Blanc 2001
About the Region
The only French wine region that traditionally labels the majority of its releases with varietal grape names, Alsace, borders Germany and a bit of Switzerland in northeastern France, and a local variant on the German language is widely spoken. The majority of Alsatian wines are white, based most of all on riesling or gewürztraminer, with pinot gris and auxerrois blanc (a chardonnay relative) close behind. Other white wine varieties here include sylvaner, pinot blanc, three kinds of muscat, chasselas, savignin, and chardonnay. Rosé and light-bodied but aromatic red wines are produced from pinot noir, and there is pleasant sparkling wine, labeled crémant d'Alsace, which may include riesling, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot gris, auxerrois blanc, and/or chardonnay, with a rosé version made from pinot noir. Alsatian whites are known for their structure and acidity, their aromatic qualities, and their vivid expression of varietal fruit. Sweet wines, labeled vendange tardive (late harvest) and sélection de grains nobles (selection of noble berries, i.e., those affected with "noble rot" like sauternes or many German sweet wines) — the later sweeter — are made from riesling, gewürztraminer, muscat, and pinot gris.