Alsace is often France’s forgotten region – arguably more German than French – similar to Italy’s Alto Adige. And equally similar, white wine has been king for hundreds of years and has been raised to perfectly pair with the region’s cuisine.
In Alsace that means foie gras and escargot – playing right into the gormand’s playbook. (Do try the flammekueche if you ever get the chance.) As Boston’s only Master Sommelier, Brahm Callahan says “Alsatian wines are priced like cheap Pinot Grigio but deliver like Grand Cru Burgundy.”
For that reason, Michelin starred restaurants line up around the block to add Alsatian selections to their wine lists. The region boasts a rich tradition of excellence produced by family run operations that go way back— and that’s where Pierre Sparr enters the picture. The family began establishing the estate in the 17th century. Just as George Washington began his first presidential term, the Sparr family began a drastic expansion of land holdings. However, many of these vineyards were decimated during World War II and had to be completely restored.
This tenacity continues with the twelve generation which has begun to add their vigor to the family business and legacy. The latest Sparr completed study in oenology and worked in Napa of all places for Pernod-Ricard before returning to the family estate in 2010. He came back with a chip on his shoulder, and since then the winery has been on a tear.
The results have been stunning- starting with this ode to crisp, dry, tangy peach in Alsace’s excellent 2020 vintage. The 2020 Pierre Sparr Riesling features the perfect balance of juicy citrus flavors with bone-dry minerality– making it the ideal compliment to so many different food pairings from different cuisine around the world. It’s no surprise that somms geek out over bottles like these.