Despite its long and thin, North-South orientation, probably the most significant compass direction in Alsace is East – West, as going East takes you closer to the plains by the Rhine (not that great for quality wine production), whereas heading West takes you into the foothills of the Vosges mountains (where most of the Grand Cru vineyards are located).
However, latitude does have an appreciable effect, with the richest wines being made around Guebwillwer and Thann in the south, and lighter styles in the northern villages such as Barr (where I stayed for a week a few years ago).
Very close to Barr is the village of Andlau, home to Domaine Rémy Gresser, a small family-owned producer. They have a total of 10.3 hectares under vine, split across plots within the Grand Crus Kastelberg, Wiebelsberg and Moenchberg plus the Lieux-dits (recognised vineyards that do not have Grand Cru status) Brandhof, Brandberg and Kritt. The family’s vinous links to Andlau have been documented as far back as 1520 when Thiébaut Gresser (himself a viticulturalist) was appointed prevost.
Domaine Rémy Gresser Gewurztraminer “Kritt” 2015 (13.5%, £21 from Top Selection)
On opening the bottle there’s no doubt what the grape is, before a glass has even been poured – white flower blossoms and lychees unfurl into the room.
Unusually above I have put photos of both the front and back labels up: two key figures are revealed on the back, being 13.5% alcohol and a sweetness of 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. So, it’s fairly high in alcohol (though not untypical of Gewurz) which gives it some body, but off-dry in sweetness (compare to the medium and medium-sweet pair I reviewed here).
On the palate it is again distinctly Gewurz, but with a lightness and elegance that is remarkably refined. If you find many Gewurz to be too full on – especially for pairing with more delicately spiced food – then this could be the wine you have been looking for!
Disclosure: sample kindly provided for review