The border between France and Germany separates more than just two nations; it is also the sharp line of demarcation between two divergent cultures with different languages and winemaking philosophies.
There is one place, however, right at the border between the two countries, where the cultures, language and wine philosophy mix, mingle and merge. It is the small enclave called Alsace. The region is located in France but is very German in its nature, philosophy, language and temperament.
One of the top producers of Alsatian wine is the centuries-old firm Pierre Sparr, where they still follow the grape-growing and winemaking practices of old. Their wines, however, have stood the test of time and now fit into our modern way of life and food preferences. Pierre Sparr 2011 Riesling Grand Cru Schoenbourg ($45)
The French words “grand cru” translate in English to great growth.
The wine is elegant and regal with a delicate, spicy fruit aroma centered on apricot, cherry with honey and candied lemon in the background. The flavor effectively mirrors the aroma with even more intensity.
Rieslings are wines that will go with almost any food because of its great depth of flavor. When you want and appreciate the best, this is it. Pierre Sparr 2013 Riesling ($19)
This is not a lesser wine than Schoenbourg, but rather a primer for those who are not familiar with the variety or style and do not wish to spend too much money to learn.
The wine has a spicy fruit aroma that is dominated by citrus and elderflowers. The flavor mirrors the aroma with the addition of tangerines. None of the flavors are up front directly but instead mingle with each other to produce a melange of summer fruits.
This wine represents a great cross-section of the wines from Alsace. Pierre Sparr 2011 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg ($45)
Any mention of Alsatian wines without including Gewurztraminer would be tantamount to treason. Nowhere in the world does the Gewurztraminer grape take on such majesty as it does in Alsace. Put that together with a fine vintage year like 2013, and you have a winning combination.
This wine is made from specially selected grapes, hand-picked from hillside vineyards in Alsace. The aroma is heavy with the scents of wild summer flowers, spice, banana and a hint of apricot, as is the flavor. The finish is long and heavy with the sensation of summer flowers.
This wine is a great accompaniment for any spicy food, particularly spicy oriental foods. It also should be the wine of choice for any heavily spiced dish. Pierre Sparr 2013 Alsace One ($16)
Alsace One is a fine name for this wine, which incorporates the most popular of the Alsatian grapes: riesling, muscat and pinot gris. The Alsace One is a constantly changing kaleidoscope of flavor and aroma sensations.
As far as the food accompaniment, this wine will go with everything from red hot Mexican foods to quiet seafood salads. We believe you will love this wine and can recommend it to you without any hesitation.Nixa resident Bennet Bodenstein is a wine columnist and manages ArticlesOnWine.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.