Patrick Comiskey writes, “Oregon’s excellent Pinot Gris also possesses that unique Alsatian marriage of richness and freshness — these wines tend to be a bit more fruit forward, with a cushiony warmth that complements dishes that include roast chicken and poached salmon. Look to the ever-dependable bottlings from King Estate…”
Alsace and Oregon
Alsace is a warm place in a cool strip of the continent. Nestled on the border of France and Germany and nearly as northerly as Champagne, it is protected on its western border by the Vosges mountain range; foul-humored summer storms pile up on its western slopes, sparing the eastern valleys for a long, radiant growing season.
Setting aside the glorious Rieslings from the area, many of the white wines of Alsace share a limpid golden quality, a late-afternoon richness of color with a corresponding intensity of flavor.
Consider off-the-path varieties such as Pinot Auxerrois, from producers Albert Mann and Domaine Ehrhart — in fact, Adelsheim Winery in Oregon is now making an estimable Auxerrois too. Or grab a lush Alsatian Sylvaner from Albert Boxler or Domaine Ostertag; these wines possess verdant ripe apple flavors that play beautifully against a meal of roast pork or mild wurst.
Alsace is also the French home for the grape Italians call Pinot Grigio; only here it’s called Pinot Gris and it couldn’t be more different. In fact, I’m convinced there should be some white wine axiom akin to the “no linen after Labor Day” rule imposed upon fashion.
To wit, after the first of September it should be forbidden to sip Pinot Grigio; you should be required to pour Pinot Gris instead.