First impression over the second: Charles Sparr 2011 Cuvée Tradition Pinot Noir
We’ve started off with the red in our flight of eight Alsatian wines, because Alsatian Pinot Noir is arguably softer and more delicate than its steely whites. I don’t remember the last time I’ve even had an Alsatian Pinot Noir, but it makes total sense that the cool climate region chooses Pinot Noir out of all red grape varieties to specialize in. Alsace tends to produce lighter styles compared to Burgundy with noticeably paler colour and softer texture, but for me it’s been personally hard to generalize because you just don’t see it much in this market, ever. The grape puts a small dent in the total plantings of grapes in Alsace, at around 10 percent.
The wine is scented with ripe strawberries, almost veering on strawberry jam, while there are undertones of mushroom and mineral. There isn’t so much earth as I would expect on the nose, but it almost seems as if the wine is attempting to overcompensate on the palate, where the lightweight body and juicy acid are met by some bitterness. It’s not superbly unpleasant but it’s conspicuous.
Tannins are markedly low which makes for easy drinking, but it also makes the slight lack in concentration that much more obvious.
Eyes: clear, pale ruby, legs
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, youthful, red fruit, ripe red fruit, ripe strawberry, strawberry preserves, mineral, hints of earth, mushroom
Mouth: dry, med- body, med+ acid, low tannin with fine texture, med alcohol, med finish, med+ intensity, red fruit, ripe strawberry, strawberry preserves, mineral, mushroom, hints of earth, bitterness
All in all: Good quality: the wine is intense on the nose and has a fair bit of complexity with the ripe strawberries and mushroom, but the wine lacks in some concentration and complexity on the palate, where there is a present bitterness. Drink now: not suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Identity Guess: High-priced Pinot Noir from Alsace, France; 2 years old.
Is really: High-priced Pinot Noir from Alsace, France; 3 years old.
Producer: Charles Sparr
Designation: Cuvée Tradition
Variety: Pinot Noir
Tasted: November 17, 2014