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Alsace and the Context of Wine Featuring Beck-Hartweg Wines


The context of wine is important to understanding wine.

My friends at Protocol Wine Studio continue to provide wine education on wine regions around the world. It was my sincere pleasure to participate in the Wine Studio program on wines of Alsace. These wines are now used by me as reference points for describing wines from Alsace. Contact Protocol Wine Studio if you would like to have your wines considered for an upcoming Wine Studio program.

Florian Beck-Hartweg wines are imported by George Tita of Tanaro River Wine Imports.

Beck-Hartweg in Dambach-la-Ville is one of the historic Domaines of Alsace, France that builds on a tradition of wine growing which goes all the way back to 1590. Today the responsibility for making wine is continued by Florian Beck-Hartweg. Florian has gained a solid reputation among lovers of Alsatian wines as a skilled, progressive and communicative representative of Alsace. Earlier vintages featured Yvette and Michelle on the label, his parents.
In Washington state we grow vinifera which originated from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and other regions of Europe. We don't have indigenous wine grapes. While I enjoy drinking and reviewing Washington wines, I have come to realize over the years that it is also important to understand where the grapes came from and what the wines taste like from their country of origin. Such as wines of Alsace from NE France.

Often when I am hand-selling wine, I will describe the wine by referring to its style, characteristics and the grape varieties country of origin. I firmly believe it is important to know wine in context. To understand Washington wine, it is essential to understand the roots of the vine. For example, you may have heard me describe, or read in one of my posts, that a particular white wine was "Alsatian" in style. But what did that mean?

Following are tasting notes on two wines from Alsace made by Beck-Hartweg Wines a 2011 Pinot Gris and 2012 Riesling. Pinot Gris and Riesling are classic French varieties which have been brought to Washington state. The next time I review a Washington Pinot Gris or Riesling, I will consider these two Alsatian wines and how they compare. It's not whether one is better than the other. It's more about how similar or different they are. Which elements have translated over and which have not?

There is satisfaction in emulating a wine, but there is also reward in re-interpretation, in making something your own. But you have to know the context first. The journey is a lot of fun.

Tasting Notes


1. Beck-Hartweg 2011 Pinot Gris

Current release. Cellar worthy (classic example of Alsatian Pinot Gris).

Nose: Perfumed, salinity, minerality, savory, white flower, (stale beer smell), orange blossom, layered with a touch of Freesia after 40 minutes.
Palate: Full body, hint of sweetness, savory, nutty/almond, light orange/mandarin, nice splash of flavor on the finish.

Thoughts: 20 minutes helped this wine show how expressive and enjoyable it is. Mandarin orange became more apparent and the nuttiness slid to the background. Big like after 20 minutes, but not at initial opening.

Day two: Floral, fluid, creamy, mouth filling spicy mandarin orange, textured, almost savory, with lime, mineral and honey on the finish. Very good.

Thoughts: Well done. Wonderful sipper alone and perfectly suited to spicy cuisine and pork chops. Recommended/Strongly Recommended.

Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 12.5%
SRP: Less than $20
Sample provided for review
Imported by: Tanaro River Wine Imports


2. Beck-Hartweg 2012 Riesling

Cellar worthy (reminded me of a German Riesling).

Nose: Minerality, petrol, salinity, peach skin.
Palate: Mineral, petrol, dry, textured, peach, touch of lime, crisp, dry on the gums and under the lip, quite nice. My speed.

Day two: Strong minerality and petrol on nose, wet river rock, peach fuzz, fresh, melon, peach, focused across the palate, touch of lemon-lime, medium-light body, dry, almost tacky on the tongue, with minerality, lime, peach and delicate nuttiness on the long finish. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Thoughts: Well done. This wine wanted fresh seafood, think shell fish, oysters, sashimi and Halibut. A soft cheese plate would work too. I am biased towards this style of Riesling. A true pleasure to review this wine. Strongly Recommended.

Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 12.5%
SRP: Less than $20
Sample provided for review
Imported by: Tanaro River Wine Imports

Florian & Mathilde BECK-HARTWEG Winery
vignerons_independants_logo5 rue Clémenceau 67650 Dambach-la-Ville
Tél. : 03 88 92 40 20 – Port. : 06 37 88 47
lundi à samedi 9h-12h 13h-18h sur RDV de préférence, dimanche sur RDV uniquement
A Family Endeavour!
Winemaker: Florian Beck Hartweg has worked full-time at the estate since 2009. He takes care of the vineyards with a focus on living soils and biodiversity. He loves to share his passion and welcomes guests at the cellar. He is engaged in the collective life of the viticultural area as Vice President of the “Syndicat des Vignerons Indépendants d’Alsace”, Vice President of the “Université des Grands Vins”, responsible for the Grand Cru Frankstein.
Partner: Mathilde also works in the vineyards. She is doing trials of growing vegetables in the vineyards. In the cellar, she is involved in the making of natural wines, with no sulfites or other additives. She too loves to share her passion by welcoming guests for tastings and by taking part in wine fairs.
Mother: Yvette, Florian’s mother, retired in 2010, though she is still taking part in the writing and shipping of marketing mailings, as well as some seasonal work in the vineyard like shoot-binding in spring which she especially enjoys.
Father: Michel, Florian’s father retired in 2010 as well. He loves being in the vineyards doing manual work. His other passion is spraying the vines with natural plant extracts which he does himself with plants harvested directly from the vineyards. This helps Beck-Hartweg vines stay healthy without the need of other chemicals.

The family history of Beck-Hartweg winemaking began in 1590. Today they grow a small amount of grapes in their 11 acre vineyard. They do all the work in family, with no employees. Most of the labor is by hand. Every day they are in close contact with their wines, vines and soils which is reflective of terroir. The care they take in growing grapes and making wine is obvious and wonderful.

To purchase Beck-Hartweg wines contact George Tita of Tanaro River Wine Imports.

Protocol Wine Studio program using Blab with video to discuss.
About Protocol Wine Studio
We are Sommeliers and professionals who are dedicated to the wine trade and all those who support it.  Our goal is to explore expanding dimensions of the wine world to evolve concepts in wine sales and education. Our philosophy centers around a cultural aesthetic where wine gently glitters from the background and becomes part of a complete social experience—a journey of wine awareness.

Recognize that each bottle is a potentially unbelievable experience.  Not for the liquid within, but for the possibilities dwelling within each of us.  Our capacity to share social experiences is at the core of what wine truly promises. We specialize in identifying developing concepts in wine, including up and coming wineries, developing regions and new social trends.  We work with our clients to acquire and educate about these wines via personalized service with a traditional approach.

I enjoyed these two Alsatian white wines. They were lovingly crafted with a tremendous amount of attention and labor. They will be used by me as reference points for describing wines of Alsace and for putting Washington Riesling and Pinot Gris in context.


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