| Okay, a new year. I hope everyone had a healthy, happy holiday season. Not going overboard with resolutions here, though I did make one today. In 2013, I will drink more Alsatian wine than I did in 2012. There. In writing. Why would I make such a New Year’s resolution, you ask? I call it the AHA factor. You’ve been there; sitting at the table with friends or family, something delicious on your plate, and in mid-conversation as you taste what’s in your glass, you stop. You recognize that the food and wine pairing delivers something bigger than the sum of its parts. That’s the AHA factor. I get more of those with Alsatian pairings than with any other subset of wines. So yeah, more Alsatian wine. Bring it on!
Maybe another reason I made the resolution is that EVERY time I drink Alsatian, I remember the trip Chris and I took there in October of 2006. It was Chris’ ingenuity that got us there. He built a tower of Alsatian bottles and boxes that won the prize for northern California’s best Alsatian wine display. I got to go because … well, I don’t know why, but I went anyway. We visited Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart at their Domain St. Remy in Wettolsheim. That had to be the highlight of the trip, for sure. I mentioned the visit in a ramble a couple of years ago. Funny thing was, at the time, I was a Pinot Gris novice. When I tasted the Ehrhart’s Im Berg Pinot Gris, I was transformed. That earthy, mushroomy aroma, met with soft yellow fruit and a kiss of honey, all picked up by fresh acidity on the palate, finishing with the trio of earth, fruit, and freshness. Yum. It was a profound, complex awakening for me. When I made my resolution, it was Pinot Gris in particular that I had in mind. It is such a versatile wine, as it pairs so well with exotic flavors, spicy dishes, and traditional Alsatian fare like choucroute. Having eastern European roots, I am certainly not a stranger to a head of cabbage. This time of year, it is not uncommon for me to have some stewing in a large pot awaiting marriage with potatoes and a festival of cured meats. The 2009 Im Berg Pinot Gris from Domaine Ehrhart is exactly the ticket for that marriage. It is exactly the ticket for that spicy Hunan chicken with black bean sauce or that veggie burrito picnic. Oh, did I mention Corinne and Philippe farm 100% organically? Yes, they do, and represent the 3rd generation of Ehrharts doing so. Whatever it is they’re doing, we are sure glad they do it!
Well it looks like Chinese food is on tap for dinner this evening. If you know me, this is not uncommon at all. I have declared that I could eat various Chinese foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weeks on end, and sometimes I have Alsatian Pinot Gris with it. This being 2013 and all, tonight I will be enjoying the 2009 Im Berg Pinot Gris from Domaine Ehrhart with it! Happy New Year! – Peter Zavialoff