Gewurztraminer from Alsace is one of my favorite styles of wine. Maybe its because this is the region my fathers side of the family is from. His mother was born in Alsace and eventually moved to Paris before fleeing Europe before WW11.
They brought their food and wine history to America.
My dad always touted French wines and knew that Gewurztraminer was not for everyone, so, he added white and red Burgundies to his wine list for entertaining. Through osmosis, here I am-a true lover of Gewurztraminer and Burgundies.
Today I will focus on one of my dad’s favorite Gewurztraminer producers, Charles Baur, whose winery is located in the heart of Alsace, miles from Colmar. The property has been with the Baur family since the early 19th century.
After purchasing neighboring property in 1930 to establish a working winery, it wasn’t until 1950 that Charles started bottling and marketing his wine. Success came quite quickly. Charles acquired several other estates and took his son, Armand, who obtained a degree in oenology (1980) into the business.
Today, Armand’s son, Arnaud (names get tricky), joined the family business in 2009 after obtaining a degree in oenology and agricultural engineering, specializing in winemaking.
The original estate has grown to forty-five (45) acres, spread across several plots located on the classic slopes of Eguisheim and its vicinity, including Grand Cru Pfersiberg and Eichberg. All wines are made from estate fruit.
The grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted, then pressed in a pneumatic press. Low yields and total focus through each stage of development have made the Baur wines sought after.
Like Burgundy, Eguisheim is made-up mostly of limestone and clay soil. The slopes are neither large nor small. Little rain and protection from the foothills of the Vosges has made Baur a safe vineyard that has become organic since 2014.
Legend and history support the fact that the slopes that Baur grows their grapes on as been revered since the Middle Ages.
Enough said about Baur-let’s talk wine. I sampled a:
2014 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru ‘Pfersigberg’
Producer: Domaine Charles Baur
Style: Medium sweet white wine
Vines: 25 year old
Price: under $30
It was easy to fall for the intense, overly powerful aromatics of fresh, concentrated ripe pears, peaches and cantaloupe. These great odors were followed by dried rose petals and candied ginger
My nose was in a frenzy until my first sip. Suddenly, my palate exploded and was wowed with a sweet fusion of juicy, runny, Georgia peaches, followed by a heavy dose of overripe mangos. All hell broke loose.
My palate was succumbing to a higher power of grape ripeness, which means one thing to me-this Gewurztraminer could be used as an aperitif, as well. Wouldn’t it pair perfectly with blue cheese or foie gras, like an expensive Sauterne?
With optimum ripeness and balanced body, this 2014 Gewurztraminer Gran Cru Pfersigberg would be an obvious choice if you are after this style of wine. This vintage from Baur is destined to become a classic.
Philip S. Kampe