Puritan & Co. As I've said before, Alsatian wines are underappreciated by the average wine consumer and deserve more press, to alert wine consumers to the pleasures of these wines. This summer, many people will drink more white wines and they should check out some Alsatian whites, including the 2011 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Tradition ($16).
The Maison Kuentz-Bas has a lengthy history, having been first established by the Kuentz family in 1795. One hundred years later, a marriage joined the Kuentz family to the Bas. The winery is located in Husseren-les Châteaux, a town situated at one of the highest points in Alsace. In 2004, the Kuentz-Bas family decided to sell the winery, and it went to Jean-Baptiste Adam, whose own family history with wine extends back to 1614.
Change came to the winery, as Jean-Baptiste lowered yields, and moved to organic and biodynamic viticulture. A new winemaker, Samuel Tottoli, came to the winery in 2004 and their wines are now divided into two groups: Tradition and Trois Chateaux. The Tradition series are the fresh wines, fermented in oak foudre, and focusing on the fruit. The Trois Chateaux are fermented in stainless steel and the grapes come from the best vineyards.
The 2011 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc Tradition, with an alcohol content of 12.5%, is produced from Pinot Blanc, though it may not be actually 100%. Through a quirk in Alsatian wine law, a wine that is labeled Pinot Blanc may also include Pinot Auxerrois, though that does not have to be mentioned on the label. In fact, a 100% Pinot Auxerrois wine could be labeled as Pinot Blanc. In the end, it doesn't really matter and the wine is simply meant to be enjoyed.
With a fruity aroma, this crisp, dry wine is delicious and refreshing, with a nice blend of flavors, including apple, pear, a little lemon, and some mineral notes. It has a pleasing finish, with a bit of roundness to the mouthfeel. Tasty on its own, this wine is also food friendly, from seafood to cheese, chicken to salads. It is an excellent summer wine, though should be enjoyed year round. It is also a good value at the price, with more complexity than many other wines at this price point.
(Disclaimer: I received this wine as a media sample.)