Some areas of the wine world bring certain varietals to mind immediately. When it comes to Alsace there is more than one that springs to mind instantly. Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris are the first three I think of. Thankfully, it seems that more quality examples of these varietals from several regions of the world, Alsace included, are landing on US shelves every year. Six generations of the Helfrich family have been making wines in Alsace. Today I’ll take a look at a couple of current releases from Helfrich, Riesling and Pinot Gris. First up is the Helfrich 2007 Riesling. This offering is made entirely from Alsatian fruit and is composed of 100% Riesling. Fermentation took place in stainless steel. This selection was finished in screw cap and the suggested retail price is $14.99.
The lovely aromatics of this wine are led by lemon zest and orchard fruit notes. White cling peach is particularly prominent and provides a very appealing quality. Throughout the full and lush palate a rich mouth feel takes hold and shows off hints of ginger as well as apple, pear and continued peach notes. A lovely mineral component leads the finish which is above average in length. Spice notes emerge as well. Everything comes together in a crisp, dry and clean fashion, leaving you wanting another sip
The highlights of this wine for me are the strong aromatics out of the gate and the mineral notes on the finish. Combined with an ever so tiny hint of sweetness, both elements help form a tasty offering that is a good example of Riesling and a nice value to boot.
The second wine is the Helfrich 2007 Pinot Gris. This selection is also made from 100% Alsatian fruit. This wine is composed entirely of Pinot Gris. Fermentation occurred in stainless steel. This Pinot Gris was finished in screw cap and the suggested retail price is $14.99.
Aromas of honey, hazelnut, lychee, Anjou pear and golden delicious apple are all present in the bright, forward nose of this 2007 Pinot Gris. The palate of this offering is rich and full flavored. Sweet, ripe fruit flavors abound; apple nectar is particularly striking. Spice notes really kick in around mid-palate and continue through the finish with nutmeg, white pepper and hints of smoke standing as the most forward of these. As with the Riesling the finish is also above average in length. Solid acidity balances the inherent sweetness of this wine and keeps things in check.
I love this Pinot Gris for its versatility. Whether served as a welcome wine, with appetizers or accompanying your main meal this 2006 Pinot Gris will work nicely. Roast pork tender loin with apple compote would be a perfect match.
Both of these releases from Helfrich represent good examples of their respective varietals at fair prices. These are well worth tasting.