JULY THIRST – KUENTZ BAS PINOT BLANC 2017
Riesling may get the most play in Alsace, but there has been an explosion in seriously deep and intriguing Pinot Blancs coming out of this wonderful region. With all the freshness and precision one might expect from Alsatian whites, yet with a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from the region’s wonderful Rieslings, there are few whites that do better to quench one’s midsummer thirst. One of the best of the best comes from our friends at Kuentz Bas. Strong proponents of both organics and biodynamics, each and every wine at the estate, from the entry-level wines to the top cuvées are given maximum attention in the vineyard and in the cellar. The result is a stellar wine that punches way above its weight.
Traditionally Pinot Blancs are characteristically austere and not terribly generous in terms of fruit. Refreshing, yes; exuberant, no. Kuentz Bas is surely light and seriously fresh–the perfect white to open as an apéritif and continue through until the end of the meal–but it also bears considerable depth on the back palate. Try it with our recipe for Grilled Chicken Keema.
Pinot Blanc comes to us originally as a mutation of Pinot Noir that produced white, rather than red grapes. It’s no coincidence that Pinot Blanc is popular in regions that also grow Pinot Noir from Burgundy to Oregon to here in Alsace. For most in Alsace, their Pinot Blanc is a humble wine that is fermented quickly, usually with purchased yeasts and finished in steel tank. At Kuentz Bas, they adhere strictly to traditional styles of winemaking insisting on rearing their Pinot Blanc in their ancient wood foudres, allowing the wine to slowly oxygenate and develop complexity it could never have if it lived its life entirely in steel.