Pinot Gris is the typical Alsace grape, even more-so than Riesling. Grown in Alsace it resembles no other Pinot Gris in the world, with it hedonistic spice. Despite this, Riesling gets all the glory, due in particular to its extreme ageability. In the hands of Trimbach this is particularly true, since they make the greatest wine in Alsace – the Clos St. Hune Riesling, which can age for a half century.
The hedonism of Alsatian Pinot Gris misleads most to the grape’s ageability. Unlike Gewurztraminer for example, Pinot Gris is quite high in acid despite its simultaneous unctuousness. This allows great Pinot Gris to age for a decade and gain considerable complexity.
This Pinot Gris bears Trimbach’s house style, which they describe well as “very strictly structured, long-living and fruity, elegant and balanced”. The age on the wine mellows the pear fruit one typically associates with Pinot Gris and instead offers caramel popcorn, fresh and candied grapefruit and a slightly metallic character. At 13 years of age the wine is quite subdued, though its acidity remains just high enough to keep it fresh, interesting and open to food. This is an exceptional example of how well Pinot Gris can age and also a testament to how underrated Trimbach’s gold label Pinot Gris is. It would have been a good wine to include in the recent old Alsace dinner I hosted. The price of this wine for the quality is certainly eye popping.
$32 at Liner and Elsen, Portland