Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc 2019 - $15.99
If Montepulciano is the Italian workhorse of Abruzzo, Pinot Blanc is the everyday white in the French region of Alsace. Much like German wine production (which Alsace borders), the whites are about showcasing the purity of fruit rather than cloaking their wines in oak. They differ from their German counterparts in that these whites are bone-dry with every ounce of sugar fully fermented, although climate change is creating riper grapes meaning more sugar and a bit more difficulty fermenting to dryness. The Cattin family operates the largest family-owned and operated winery in Alsace and have been living in the village of Voegtlinshoffen since 1720. Located in the renowned Upper Rhine, the family controls 50 hectares of vines all dedicated to the traditional grapes of the region. This month we get to enjoy their delightful Pinot Blanc.
Fresh and clean with a slight lemon zest, this Pinot Blanc from Alsace remains dominated by ripe pears, green apples, and peaches. Sometimes the wine can also take on a slight smokiness, but in this example it is subtle if at all. This is a go to for a low alcohol white after a day on the slopes. Serve chilled to enjoy it in its crisp and slightly racy splendor, but expect the fruit character to soften as it warms up.
The Cattin family proudly boasts that 80% of their vineyards are located on the lower slopes of the Vosges Mountains with a majority of them facing southeast. This is ideal for two reasons: The first is that these mountains provide what is known as the “rain shadow” effect; this creates a nearly perfect environment to cultivate the vine because it will block the westerly winds from bringing moisture and storms, making this one of the driest and sunniest regions in France. Additionally, a southern or southeastern exposure means maximum sunlight, and even and total ripeness for the fruit.
* CHEESE PAIRING *
Tomette Vendeenne is a French mixed milk cheese coming from affineur Herve Mons. This blend of cow and sheep's milk offers the best of both worlds; a rich and decadent texture from the cow's milk as well as an earthy, slightly nutty flavour from the sheep's milk. Tomette Vendeenne makes a great pairing for light bodied Alsatian whites as well as off-dry riesling.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
Even though this song is more specifically about betrayal in relationships, “the chain” is a metaphor for an unbreakable bond. No matter what hardships come along, “the chain would keep us together.” The Cattin family clearly has some sort of chain that’s keeping their family business and vineyards impervious to meeting any permanent end. As example, one of their vineyards, Le Clos Maledon, was the site of a battleground during the First World War, and it was reduced to a wasteland in the crossfire. However, come the year 2000, the family revitalized the land to continue growing grapes, and it is now more vibrant than ever. Looking from their tasting room out onto the estate, it’s easy to think that the family must have some sort of guardian looking out for them. Indeed it is truly a generational “chain” of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the Alsacian terroir that has kept them together. The Chain is actually the only song on Rumours that is credited to all five members of Fleetwood Mac, so it is more of a testament to unity than perhaps some other tracks on the album.
Joseph Cattin’s Pinot Blanc is a gorgeous expression of exactly what this family has to offer. Delicate floral notes and crisp apple will hit your nose to start, like those first few pluckings from the guitar on the steady intro of The Chain. A few sips in, the lively tree fruit and citrus on the palette up the energy. Cue the tambourine! The minerality drives home just how animated this bottle is. As John Mcvie takes it away with the bass solo while the band belts out their final lines in the song, I enjoy the end of my glass and this producer’s finesse is clear. “We will never break the chain!” Here’s to many more years of Cattins in Alsace.