Alsace Pinot Noir: Seeking Thoughts and Recommendations Please


I don’t see much talk about Pinot Noir from Alsace on the board here. How do they compare to Burgundy reds? We all know that Pinot Noir from Burgundy gets all the love – and rightfully so based on the few I have had – but Alsace produces the finest white wine in the world thanks to their terroir, shouldn’t their Pinot Noir be just as super awesome?

I’ve never actually had a PN from Alsace. So I was wondering what you Berserkers with more experience felt about them. Are they as good as Alsace whites? How do they compare to delicate AFWE Burgundy wines?

The LCBO currently has NONE in stock and the SAQ in Montreal has 7 which sounds like a lot of variety until you see on their website they also have 619 Pinot Noir based Burgundy reds for sale as well. So is this Alsacian Pinot Noir discrepancy due to rarity or because the stuff actually sucks compared to Burgundy?

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and recommendations. Since I’m in MOntreal next week and can easily access SAQs, if you care to and you have experience with these brands you can even tell me what you think of the Pinot Noir from these domaines specifically:

  • Albert Mann
  • Valentin Zusslin
  • Marcel Deiss
  • Leon Beyer
  • Hugel
  • Réné Muré

Look forward to everyone’s thoughts and advice. Thanks in advance.

my only experience…

2007 Bruno Sorg Pinot Noir - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC (6/5/2013)
Red fruit, earth, and spiced nose. Full bodied with good structure, acidity and relatively sweet fruit on the mid-palate. Finishes nicely and long with the sweet fruit lingering. This was the “barrique” version, off the list at Le Moissonnier, Cologne. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I’ve had a few of them but IMHO Boxler is the real deal. Hard to find though.

This funny (to me). I just wrapped up an Alsatian tasting featuring Marc Tempe and Domaine Pfister, and a couple of people asked about the reds from the region. They are. generally speaking, lighter than Burgundy (including Irancy) and can be awkward.

Tran, of the producers you listed I can recommend Beyer from a ripe year, as well as Rene Mure’s.

My lone experience with Marcel Deiss Pinot happened at a trade lunch full of wine geeks who were desperately trying to convince themselves it was exciting, because the Deiss story is interesting and attractive. The wine tasted like tomatoes and beef stock. Not recommended until I try another one that suggests otherwise.

I’ve had some, but not very much, when in Alsace - nothing ever struck me as interesting. That I do not even remember the names of each I’ve had is telling.

Once, in late September 2007, the owner of one of the producers you mentioned took my wife and I around the estate/winery/cellars and did a private tasting with us - all and only their whites. I noted his pinot noirs and he just laughed and told me not to bother with them - said they make that mainly “to give to the workers”.

In a ripe vintage, the Deiss Burlenberg can be awesome. The current release '09 is just that…

I have not had a pinot from Alsace that I like anywhere near as much as the Burgs I buy at the same price point. But, they taste different from Burgundy, just like California pinot tastes different from Burgundy, so your preferences may differ. Try the Mann.

What vintage Deiss, do you recall Jim?

The best Alsatian Pinot Noir I have ever had is the Domaine Mure Clos Saint Landelin.
A bit pricey but really good.

I’ve liked the Frick Pinot Noir in some vintages.

But not a regular buy for me.

Very good indeed.

Had a very nice visit there a few years ago. Excellent wines throughout the range.

Have had pinot noir from many Alsace houses…while visiting. It is usually pretty recognizably different from Burgundy pinot noir, but some are good, nevertheless. Many are slightly darker rose wines: Trimbach, Hugel…and Boxler made wines in that rose style…and were not focused at all on pinot noir. Not sure which came first.

The best pinot noirs I’ve experienced in the region were from Barmes-Buecher. The “better” one is from the grand cru “Hengst” vineyard…planted in the early fifties from cuttings from the d’Angerville vineyards in Volnay. (It cannot be called grand cru, as Alsace does not permit pinot noir to be labeled grand cru, even from grand cru vineyards; I don’t know about Deiss’ holdings, as he persuaded the authorities to bend the rules for him and his field blends…effectively cheapening the AOC regs…to his benefit.) Albert Mann also makes a serious one in that vein. (Ironically, I’ve had a 2000 Barmes-Buecher "veilles vignes (Hengst grand cru) lined up…and will try in the next week.)

I’ve bought a decent amount of Barmes over the years, as I was really impressed and the late Francois Barmes was very serious about making a good pinot noir. It takes lots of effort…and no many are into that for pinot noir. (Not sure why…or if there holdings limit the potential quality.)

As Panos points out, they can be “pricey” for what they are…and those producers which are already “pricey” , no doubt, are even “pricier” for their pinot noirs.

As good as Barmes’ pinots (he made a “reserve” from non-Hengst holdings, too)…they have never temped me to focus on them to replace Burgundies…though they have fooled a few of my Burgundy friends when served blind…so…they must be decently close!

I can’t recall. Definitely nothing so recent - most likely it was a year from the early 00s. I’d be open to other vintages being better, but my one experience produced a lot of wine geeks bending over backwards to find non-existent virtues. On a larger scale, I find Deiss maddeningly inconsistent, but always at least interesting.