2005 Dirler Pinot Cépage Pinot Noir, $33, Robert Chadderdon Selections. There are a few unusual things about this wine. First of all, although it is made of Pinot Noir, it is white wine. Or is it - I'm just not sure. It looks like a white in the bottle but when poured looks more like a rosé. The label doesn't say. So I think we're talking about a rosé of Pinot Noir. Looking around the interweb, there is no information that I can find about this wine. Actually, I can't find much of anything about Domaine Dirler-Cade at all. And this estate is surely one of the finest in the Alsace. All I found is Jaime Goode's little tidbit, and Steven Tanzer's reviews of Dirler's 2005 lineup, in which this wine is not mentioned. And some other yo-yo wrote this bit about Dirler's Crémant.
All I know is this: Dirler farms organically, and as of the 2007 vintage, using biodynamic methods. Whereas many Alsace producers make wines with some residual sugar, Dirler's are better known for their searing dryness, their mineral intensity. I don't know a lot about Alsace wines, but so far this is my favorite producer.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't have a lot of technical info for you on this producer or this wine. But I'm a blogger, not a journalist, so I can go ahead and write about the wine anyway...
And it is a truly beautiful wine, memorable and I believe, unique. It is 14.5% alcohol! And still perfectly balanced, given sufficient air time. It is the color of ripe peach skin. At first it smells of resin and alcohol, with cinnamon scented orange fruit underneath. It reminded me of one of those northern-Italian skin contact wines. But that was only temporary. With a half hour open this wine really blossomed. The resin blew off and left behind an incredibly fresh and airy nose that offers plenty of ripe fruit, cinnamon, and a minty menthol floor. And there is a vibrant mineral character too, like the inside of a wet limestone cave. And this is all just the nose, people! It is intense on the palate, very energetic, and offers a compelling harmony of rugged minerals, ripe orchard fruit, and super-firm structure. Between this structure and the vivid acidity, I imagine that this wine will improve for quite some time in the cellar, and I plan to test this hypothesis.
BrooklynLady said that she thought this would be great with a blue cheese. I respectfully disagree, as I think that the most beautiful thing about this wine, the harmonious interplay of its individually rather loud parts, would be lost in the pungency of blue cheese. Next time we open a bottle I want to have some Alsace ham on hand, or speck, or something like that. Sliced thin and served with nothing other than good bread and unsalted butter, that is my dream pairing for this wine. The savory and mellow richness of the ham would work perfectly with the harmonious intensity of this wine - in my mind anyway. I'll try this in a year or so when I open another bottle and we'll see what happens.
It seems as though this wine might not be the easiest thing to find, but if you're in the NYC area, Astor Wines carries it, although it isn't listed on their website.
Friday, March 27, 2009