Estimated retail: $50
For most of my 17 years as a Sommelier, I’ve viewed Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio as the boneless, skinless chicken breast of the wine world. The overwhelming majority of those made seek to do little more than not offend while getting you buzzed. Banality is rarely a good thing, and it’s especially disappointing in wine. Still, I try whatever versions come my way and once in a blue moon appears something spectacular, something delicious, something that makes me even angrier at all the insipid, lifeless renditions that are peddled to consumers. Such is the feeling I get every time I enjoy Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.
As one of the most significant wineries in the storied Alsace region, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is best known for other worldly Riesling and Gewürztraminer. I’ve always viewed their Pinot Gris as the unsung hero of the portfolio. Part of the greatness lies in the high elevation vineyard sites that force this grape to struggle and dig down deep. It’s the tough love the grape needs to make it special. The winery also spends far more attention to detail, especially compared to say the one million plus case production of Santa Margherita. They use native yeasts and extended time on the lees to gain richness before letting it age for a year and a half in old oak barrels. The wine radiates with gorgeous aromatics and texture. Dazzling acidity meets heady floral, racy spice, mineral, and a bevy of apricot, kumquat, and quince paste notes. ∞