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Pique your palate with this pair of Pinot Blancs

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Alice Peters, and Kelley O'Neill

Alsace is the tiny northeast French region that snuggles up against France's border with Germany. To most wine drinkers, it is associated with the two Germanic grape varieties Riesling and Gewurztraminer. However, French varieties like Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Pinot Blanc are also important.

It is Pinot Blanc that frequently produces some of the best value wines of Alsace. It is typically a gentle white wine with low to moderate acidity. Its aroma and flavor hint at pear, lemon, and apple, and there is often a slightly nutty character to the finish.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind tasted a group of seven Pinot Blancs from Alsace, and the tasting's top wine was also the most expensive.

The 2005 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Réserve, priced at $26.99 per bottle, was about as good as Pinot Blanc gets [Sku 19786].* The most complex wine of the tasting, its elegant nose and palate display notes of pear, citrus, pepper, honey, and a pleasing mineral quality. It is a beautiful wine from one of the most highly regarded estates in Alsace.

The second-place wine was the best value of the group. The 2005 Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc, at $11.99 per bottle, was very dry and crisp, its firm flavors finishing on a slightly peachy note [Sku 85910].* Beyer always does well with Pinot Blanc, and the price (like the wine) is easy to swallow.

Both of these wines will pair with a variety of dishes. Try them with quiche, mildly seasoned chicken and fish dishes, or simply prepared pork and veal. These are great wines to serve with a buffet, as well, for good Pinot Blanc is one of the most versatile, food-friendly white wines around!

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 06/11/2007.

* To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

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