The wines of Gustave Lorentz are Alsatian classics
The wines of Alsace, France can inspire a lot of passion. The predominant varietals are whites, and when they are made with care the wines are often nothing short of breathtaking. I recently tasted through most of the portfolio from Gustave Lorentz. This Alsatian family has been making wine since 1836. It was a pleasure and an eye-opener to samples these wines. As is typical of Alsace, the majority of their offerings are white with a few reds as well. Both still and sparkling wines are included in the mix. While I can heartily recommend the Gustave Lorentz wines as a whole, I'll focus here on three widely available offerings that provide lots of value and flavor in their category.
The Gustave Lorentz 2009 Pinot Gris Reserve was produced using fruit from the Alsace region of France. All of the fruit was sourced from hillside vineyards around the village of Bergheim. This offering is 100 percent Pinot Gris. The fruit was hand-harvested; fermentation took place with a combination of yeasts in stainless steel. It was racked twice and aged in tank for six months prior to bottling. About 140,000 cases of this vintage were produced, and it has a suggested retail price of $23.99.
Pinot Gris can be a very frustrating grape for me. The problem I have is that the vast majority of Pinot Gris is pretty anonymous and boring. However, I keep tasting them because every once in awhile there's an example that reminds me how great Pinot Gris can be. The nose of this 2009 Pinot Gris shows off apple, hazelnut and peach aromas. Both fresh and dried fruit notes are clearly present. Stone and orchard fruits dominate the palate, which has substantial mouth-feel and good weight. Apricot, white pepper and touch of clover honey all emerge on the finish. This is a full-bodied Pinot Gris that's simply loaded with appealing unctuous flavors. This wine practically begs you to keep drinking it. Wines like this are why I taste tons of Pinot Gris, looking for a gem.
The Gustave Lorentz 2009 Riesling Reserve was produced using fruit from select hillside vineyards around Bergheim France. This wine is 100 percent Riesling. All of the fruit was hand-harvested. After pressing, the juice is filtered to remove impurities. Fermentation took place using both natural and selected yeasts in stainless steel. Aging took place in stainless steel for six months prior to bottling. There were about 160,000 cases of this wine produced in the 2009 vintage, and it has a suggested retail price of $23.99.
A bit of lemon is the first aroma that pops out from the nose of this 2009 Riesling. Vanilla follows and provides a nice complement. White peach and tart apple flavors are featured prominently on the palate, which is gentle in nature but layered with subtle flavors. A bevy of spices emerge on the finish and tickle the back of your throat, leaving a lasting impression. This wine has terrific structure, framed by solid acidity. This is a perfectly dry Riesling that epitomizes how much this varietal thrives in Alsace. This wine will pair with a variety of foods; spicy curry dishes will be a particularly good match.
The Gustave Lorentz 2009 Gewürztraminer Reserve was produced using fruit sourced at hillside vineyards that are largely heavy clay and limestone soil. This wine is 100 percent Gewürztraminer. The fruit was hand-picked and pressed, and filtering followed to remove impurities. Fermentation took place in stainless steel with a variety of yeasts, both natural and selected. The wine as racked twice and aged in stainless steel tanks for six months prior to bottling. About 120,000 cases of this offering were produced, and it has a suggested retail price of $23.99.
Aromas of Lychee, white pepper and vanilla bean fill the nose of this Gewürztraminer along with a hint of stone fruit. The palate is filled with apricot as well as nectarine, and yellow and white peach flavors. There is a bit of a honeyed edge here, on what is a very flavorful middle. Lemon, mango, papaya and continued pepper are all part of the long, complex finish, which shows off an impression of sweetness and also has some subtle savory elements. This wine is well balanced and will pair with flavorful foods in particular. This is a terrific expression of Gewürztraminer.
There's a lot to like about this trio of wines from Gustave Lorentz. However, a few things are more impressive than the rest. First and foremost is the purity of fruit that shines through on each selection. These wines are unadulterated and do a fabulous job of demonstrating what each varietal really tastes like when it's treated with care. Each of these wines is also terrifically balanced, featuring good acidity and primed to pair with food. You can certainly drink them on their own and enjoy them, but each will accent a meal beautifully. If you want to know what all the fuss is about when people speak passionately about the white wines of Alsace, this trio from Gustave Lorentz is an excellent gateway.