Alsace, France; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 6 Nov
After the 2009 Sparr Reserve Gewurztraminer was pretty good, I was curious about what this wine would be like, especially since I could buy it for the same price during the sale. This is also not an especially complex wine, but, like the Gewurz, it’s also pretty good for the price.
The wine shows typical Pinot Gris flavors of yellow melon / pear, straw, plenty of ripe lemon and medium-ripe pineapple, and a little minerality. As far as I can tell, there’s a little residual sugar, but that sweetness is quite well balanced by tasty acid of lemon and yellow grape. As usual for me, the Pinot Gris strikes me as not having all that much distinctive varietal character, but in this wine I like the gentle flavors and sweetness, and especially the ripe-fruity acid. If you’re choosing between this Pinot Gris and the 2008 Helfrich, which is still around (now at $3 as I recall), I think it would depend on your budget, and whether you prefer a sweeter wine with slightly riper fruit (Helfrich) or a wine with slightly fresher fruit and more acid (Sparr). Otherwise, these wines are fairly similar, and both delicious.