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This pinot noir from north-east France is deep in colour, with the alluring scent of ripe black fruits, a sprinkling of spice, and a full, fresh palate. It's still young so don't be afraid to decant it and get those aromas and flavours going.
Product Code: AL15401
View all products by Château de Vaux
The site of the Château de Vaux is amidst an almost forgotten vineyard that overlooks the Moselle near Metz in north-east France. Read any account of the battles that were fought around Metz during the Franco-Prussian war and most will tell of fighting in the vineyards of Lorraine, and it was not so many generations ago this entire region was covered in vines. Phylloxera and war put an end to all of that, leaving only place names and a few isolated vines. This property was bought in 1999 by a very enterprising couple, the man and wife team of Norbert and Mary-Geneviève Molozay – the wife a trained oenologist born locally and the husband from Beaujolais, though he has made wine all over the world. They set about replanting and even increasing the vineyard and farming organically. They are still early in their ownership, but quite clearly in a short space of time they have put this little vineyard firmly on the map.
The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, and give or take some pinot noir production almost all the wines are white. The hierarchy of appellations is simple to understand too, with AC Vin d’Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and AC Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines being all you need to know. Vendange Tardive and Sélection des Grains Nobles are two further designations within those classifications for wines made from later-harvested grapes that are higher in sugar and wines made from grapes affected by botrytis (aka noble rot) respectively. Grand cru wines must be made with grapes from a named vineyard site of that designation harvested at lower yields than those permitted for AC Vin d’Alsace wines. Though they are not all equal in terms of quality and many were granted such status to satisfy local political demands, many of these sites are producing some of the greatest wines of the region. There are about 50 such grand cru sites in Alsace and wines from these sites can only be made from four noble varieties – riesling, muscat, pinot gris and gewurztraminer – though the grand cru vineyards themselves can be planted with any permitted variety. Curiously, though, it is often the producer name and brand that is considered of higher importance than cru, and some producers do not use the name of a grand cru vineyard on the labels of wines made from those sites. Different producers are known for their house styles and it is often this, and the trusted quality of their ‘brands’, that attracts the savvy drinker. The grape varieties are varied. Gewurztraminer is a grape that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. Highly aromatic, with scents of lychee, rose petals and spice (gewürz is the German word for spice), sometimes very dry and sometimes richly sweet, gewurztraminer from Alsace can accommodate many difficult food pairings. They include Thai and other aromatic Asian foods, ginger-infused foods, and washed rind cheeses such as Munster.Muscat, so often made to be sweet in other regions, is nearly always bone dry in Alsace. Perfumed and grapy, muscat makes an excellent aperitif and partner to asparagus. Pinot blanc is an excellent everyday wine, not so aromatic, clean and round and often blended with auxerrois with which it share a similarly clean scent and flavour profile. Pinot gris produces full, rich wines, less spicy than gewurztraminer and capable of long ageing. It can be a superb match for food, particularly roast goose, smoked fish, Oriental dishes and a varied cheeseboard. Sylvaner is now an endangered species, being superseded by other varieties. It makes lively, refreshing whites with good acidity that in the best examples can age surprisingly gracefully. It is often drunk with food in Alsace restaurants, particularly onion tart, ham, bacon and pork.Riesling is, for many cognoscenti, the region’s greatest wine. Here it produces dry, fuller-bodied styles with more rounded acidity. Like its lighter, often sweeter German counterparts, it develops great complexity with age, taking on its distinctive petrol aroma. The red pinot noir grape ripens easily in Alsace and more and more wines are being made, with more substance, colour and aroma than their historical forbears. Some from the best producers are showing the ability to age well.Please see our How to Buy Alsace Guide in the Wine World & News section of our website for a more detailed feature on the Alsace region.
"Pale ruby and slightly translucent in the glass. The aroma was of light, spicy fruit and if anything decreased after 3 hours decanting (perhaps this was too long?) Taste delicate, dry and long with a gentle earthiness appearing on the second day. Best served not too cool. I suspect this wine may express more on a summer's day. Definitely an individual wine , but to my taste interesting rather than memorable, hence 3 stars."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"This was a real surprise. I ordered out of real curiosity, not really expecting to enjoy, but the wine was such a treat. There was an intensity of raspberry flavours, mellowing from very tart at first to almost jam-like on the finish, matched by savoury cherry and an amazing spice - nutmeg, clove, that sort of thing. A really savoury wine, despite its fruity flavours, and with brilliant but never overpowering acidity. The only reason this loses a star is the tannin, which felt a little too sharp and not quite integrated: perhaps a few years would improve it. We drank it slightly chilled."
Mr Maximilian Yuen (10-Nov-2018)
"Light strawberry and red cherry dominant Pinot.
A little bit too tart for me however the acidity is well balanced and it goes down without too much heavy thinking to do about it!"
Mr Alex Downham (03-Oct-2018)
"Day 1 it was excellent - better than most Kiwi PN's for under £15 and MUCH better than ALL Burgundies under £25. But it tails off quickly! next day it was average and the day after ended up in the Coq au vin (where it excelled). "
Mr Tim Potts (14-Jul-2018)
"This is a perfect warm weather red, and is great value for money. As other reviewers have said, a wine of this quality from Burgundy would cost a lot more. Either way, it's smooth with a lovely fruit taste, and is very very moreish. "
Mr Peter Minns (11-Jul-2018)
The Guardian (30th Jun 2018)
"Delicate pinot to sip
as dusk is falling. - Fiona Beckett"
"I thought that this was an exceptional wine. I rather like oddities and the idea of a pinot noir from Alsace was very intriguing. I found it to be at the fuller end of medium bodied and full of generous fruit and character. The fragrance is delicate and combines with the length and intensity to give a very pleasing and savoury flavour. Not what you can typically get hold of in the UK. I only wished I had bought more or perhaps an equally priced burgundy to compare."
Mr David Hammond (11-May-2018)
From the other reviews I was expecting more from this wine.
The 2015 vintage in my opinion is a fairly simple wine: mainly red fruit and a little spice. The finish was disappointingly short and the fruit taste fades pretty quickly.
Balanced yes, but lacking in intensity, length and real complexity.
I won't be buying this again.
Mr Matthew A Gamble (11-Feb-2018)
"Excellent Pinot Noir yet tricky to pigeon-hole being somewhere in style between a better Alsace PN and a Tasmanian. Almost Burgundian without the vanity price tag. TWS description is spot on and quite frankly I don't think there is a better P.N. at this price point currently, I imagine stocks will sell out. Went down very well with home-made sweet'n'sour Cantonese pork."
Mr Tim Potts (18-Jan-2018)
"If you love Burgundy but can't afford it, I recommend this wine, albeit I had the 2014 vintage. It had all the pretty floral notes that I find and love in young reds from Cote D'or or Cote Chalonnaise, but was richer and more concentrated than any sub £15 Burgundy. I will definitely buy again"
Mr Marcus Rees (03-Jan-2018)
"Nice spicy fresh taste with a ouch of sourness. Different, if somewhat rustic. Decent value for money."
Mr Rommel Johnson (28-Oct-2017)
"This is to me a good example of the sort of wine that's difficult to get hold of in the U.K. - it's a good quality regional wine that is distinctly different from the arguably more popular Pinot Noirs from Burgandy and elsewhere, but whilst drinking it I was transported to the France I love."
Mr Julian Edgington (21-Jul-2017)
"Slightly chilled, we drank this as we would a fresh Beaujolais or Loire red. Overall we could simply say 'yummy'. Light but tasty with a crunch of fruit and a mouthwatering feel, this a perfect summer red. It is also so much better than any Alsatian Pinot that we have had before and it is therefore a bargain."
Mr I Mitchell (29-Jun-2017)
"More of this sort of thing please buyers.
Yes, there is oak but doesn't disturb the freshness.
Mr Andrew Buurman (06-Jun-2017)
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