2009 Domaine Bott-Geyl, Les Eléments, Gewurztraminer
Available at the Wine Connection
Retail price: approximately $24
French Wines: Passion d’Alsace
Even though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, it is never too late to indulge our wild wine passions. What could be more français than keeping the passion alive? But which French wine would be our best bet for a Love Potion No. 9? In order to live up to the famous lyrics, we would apparently need to find a wine that, when sipped with our eyes closed, would force us to lose track of “day or night” and start “kissing everything in sight.” Je voudrais présenter . . . the 2009 Domaine Bott-Geyl, Les Eléments, Gewurztraminer, from Alsace.
Les Eléments has a perfume of rose petals, lychee fruit and persimmon that will make you so weak in the knees you’ll need your loved one to steady you lest you progress to a full swoon. From that first moment, it will be difficult to resist the wine, as it will most certainly begin its persistent palate-caressing frolic in your mouth. Its pungent, spicy flavors and rich, “oily” texture will explore and beseech your taste buds to go further into the mystery of this unique wine experience. Caution has now been thrown to le vent!
Part of the reason this wine is so enchanting is its subtle sweetness. The producer explains this in the form of a sweetness index on the label itself, rating this gewürztraminer a four out of nine. So it is officially categorized as an “off-dry” wine, which means not totally dry but not so sweet as to be a dessert wine either.
Where does all this intrigue come from? Partly it comes from the grape itself—gewürztraminer, when made well and sourced from the ideal cool climate and alluvial soil, such as that of Alsace, is in a class of its own. But that is only part of the answer. The rest lies with the approach and reverence of the wine producer, in this case Jean-Christophe Bott, whose wines capture and express every ounce of Alsatian terroir.
Bott practices biodynamic vineyard management (credited with the certification biologique), and preserves the “secret life” of the soil by gently supporting the natural rhythm and balance in his vineyards without the use of any synthetic fungicides, insecticides or weed killers. He harvests by hand and uses a whole cluster press to maximize freshness and prevent any overly vegetal or bitter flavors from spoiling the purity of the wine. Clearly the workers at Domaine Bott-Geyl are passionate about caring for their vineyards and methodology.
Lastly, and this is the part that is sometimes tough for Americans to understand, he embraces the natural sugars inherent in gewürztraminer because those sugars are the carriers of the mystery; they add the extra dimension of exotic, intoxicating and swoon-producing aromas and flavors. And that is the secret to making wine into a love potion!
Try it with foie gras, terrines or duck liver pâtés; in place of dessert; or with exotic, spicy cuisines, like Indian and Thai.
Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes.