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The Cellar: Picket Fence Pinot Noir + Boxler Reserve Edelzwicker

Friday, March 28, 2014


At the most recent ‘Evening with Wine’ event at the Providence Wine Academy participants tasted ten wonderful wines from all over France. Among the wines sampled was the 2011 Reserve Edelzwicker from iconic producer Albert Boxler. Domaine Albert Boxler is a small family owned and operated Estate located 5 miles west of Colmar in the heart of Alsace’s pristine wine country just east of the Vosges Mountains. Boxler embodies the term ‘old school Domaine’ as the traditional winemaking techniques that are employed here have been passed down from generation to generation since the Estate was founded in 1673. Few producers have resisted the ‘modernization trend’ that has engulfed the wine world more so than Boxler, who have remained consistently anti-consolidation, anti-technology, anti-regulation, anti-foreign investment and anti-globalization.

I generally describe Alsatian wines as being among the most pure in the world. What I mean by that is that Alsatian wines are about expression; of the terroir as well as the grape variety. This means that very little (new) oak is used and that most wines are single variety bottling. That said there is one blended style of Alsatian wine that is very traditional: the ‘fieldblend’. Labeled either ‘Edelzwicker’ or ‘Gentil’ these wines are all about expressing the entire vineyard. The fieldblend is kind of a throwback to the times, before DNA testing, when the farmers weren’t exactly sure what was growing in their vineyards. All they knew was that they were making wine from the same vines that their ancestors had been making wine from. The 2011 Reserve Edelzwicker from Albert Boxler is a super aromatic blend of Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Chasselas. This richly textured, slightly off-dry wine features loads of oranges, peaches, honey and cilantro. Very interesting and worth seeking out.

2012 Picket Fence, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

This week’s second wine is a real value and one that took me by surprise. It is the 2012 Pinot Noir from Sonoma County’s Picket Fence Winery. The grapes from this delicious wine are sourced from three vineyards in the Russian River Valley, one of Sonoma’s coolest sub-regions. Here, evening fog lower summer temperatures to around 40 degrees overnight allowing the grapes to cool down and rest, thereby preserving the all important acidity. The days, however, are warm allowing the grapes to fully ripen. In terms of flavors this is a pretty deep wine displaying a slew of lush dark fruits. Thankfully, it also has several earthy elements, as well as sweet spices. This wine was aged for 10 months in a mixture of new (40%) and neutral (60%) French oak and it shows. It might be a tad over oaked for you burghounds out there, but if you like Californian Pinot Noir this is an under $20 value you should seek out. (Aerate for 30 minutes)


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy. 


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