Pure and Precise: Loire, Alsace, Provence, and Germany

  • Christian Navarro

While this grouping of regions may be all over the map, the best wines from these areas share certain stylistic attributes—such as mouthwatering minerality, lively acidity, and precise, lengthy finishes—that make them exceptional wines for pairing with food. Though often underappreciated in the United States, these recent releases do credit to the noble soils from which they derive.

Château d’Esclans 2008 Rosé Garrus Côtes de Provence
The son of Alexis Lichine—a leading figure of 20th-century winemaking—Sacha Lichine, proprietor of Château d’Esclans, has raised industry eyebrows with his unwavering dedication to crafting the world’s finest rosé. Though lesser talents may struggle to imbue this typically humble style of wine with true complexity, Lichine achieves astonishing results. The 2008 Garrus’ creamy texture is overlaid with delicate notes of granite, wild strawberry, and dried rose petals. ($90)

Dönnhoff 2007 Riesling Auslese Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Nahe
Located in Nahe, Helmut Dönnhoff is considered one of Germany’s best wine producers. His Rieslings, Pinot Blancs, and Pinot Gris are renowned for their elegance and perfect balance. This particular vintage shows flavors of fruitcake, dried apricot, nectarine, and notes of honeysuckle. ($74, 375ml)

J.J. Prüm 2007 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Mosel Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule
The Prüm family, which has lived in the middle Mosel valley since the 12th century, knows the steep slate soils of the area intimately. Their superior Rieslings, which constitute 100 percent of their production, are always late-harvested and extremely long-lived. This example has beautiful flavors of white peach, green apple, sweet honey, and pine nut. ($130)

Ladoucette 2005 Baron de L Pouilly-Fumé
The Pouilly-Fumé of Baron Patrick de Ladoucette, a descendant of the Comte Lafond, is amongst the best in the Loire Valley. The broad profile of this steely white wine includes aromas of flint and lemon that enhance its palate of tropical fruit. ($98)

Trimbach 2003 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune Alsace
Founded over 400 years ago, Domaine Trimbach produces the definitive Alsatian dry white wine, thanks to the limestone-rich soils of Ribeauvillé. This vintage exhibits reserved grapefruit, limestone, and pear flavors and should age gracefully for more than a decade. ($170)

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