Todays battle sees the 2011 Vin de Savoie Malvoisie Cuvée Prestige from Domaine Girard against the 2010 Vin de Pays de Coteaux de l’Auxois Pinot Beurot La Mystérieuse from Vignoble de Flavigny-Alesia pitched against each other. Both wines are made using hand picked grapes, which does not really call for a battle.
Ok. They are both whites, from France… Both winemakers are members of France-Passion,
where camping car owners can stay the night after buying a sticker valid for one year.
Ok, both wines are made using Pinot Gris, though both use different names on the label.
Both the pink skinned mutation of the Pinot Noir as well as its white counterpart are rarely seen in France. The amount of Pinot Gris vines grown are about 10% of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc even just 5%.
Both are mainly grown in Alsace, where Pinot Blanc is mainly used as an ingredient for Cremant d’Alsace whereas the Pinot Gris is part of the 4.5 Grand Cru gang. Why 4.5? The 4 classic Grand Cru varieties are Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris with Sylvaner being the exception for the Grand Cru Zotzenberg only.
Before Hungary’s joining of the EC Pinot Gris was called Tokay in Alsace.
Apart from the Alsace there is also the Reully AOC in the upper Loire region where it is used for rosé wines in conjuncture with Pinot Noir.
It is also allowed in a variety of burgundy reds but it is not widely planted so the chances of finding even traces of Pinot Gris in red Burgundy are pretty slim. Here it is called Pinot Beurot.
The wine growing region of Coteaux de l’Auxois is part of Burgundy but not part of Bourgogne AOC. It’s hills are rather green with grass and dotted with big cattle. The Auxois is an old earldom in the western part of the duchy of Burgundy. The vinery Vignoble de Flavigny-Alesia lies south of the quaint village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain immortalized by the film Chocolat featuring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. It is also near to the historic place of Alesia where Caesar utterly destroyed gallic resistance by defeating their army in 52 BC. Beside the Pinot Gris which is the vinery grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Auxerrois and César. Alluding to the battle of Alesia the wine bottle is roughly in the shape of an amphora.
The Malvoisie from Domaine Grisard was bought in Mens, where I bought the Verdesse as well. At first I was not sure which grape variety hid behind the Malvoisie, as there are many grape varieties using this name, like the Frühroter Veltliner or the rare Malvasia bianca di Piemonte. But the Domaine put the real grape variety on the back label and they must know, because they also grow vines for sale in their pepiniere viticole.
Fresh from the fridge:
Vin de Savoie: Pear, light muscat-note, chalk. Soft, off-dry.
Coteaux de L’Auxois: light peach, apple core, green hazelnut, rape honey. Strong acidity with light bitter note.
Vin de Savoie: Pear, dried Mango, fresh and ripe Mangop as well, some beeswax. Light peppery finish.
Coteaux de l’Auxois: light button mushrooms with mustard. Savoury, raspberry vinaigrette.
I’d serve them with:
Vin de Savoie: pan seared scallops
Coteaux de l’Auxois: Plate of Charcuterie
Two days later:
Vin de Savoie: pear williams, fresh ripe mango, light pineapple. Sweetness more pronounced.
Coteaux de l’Auxois: Mustard, pear, unripe mango, light onion. Acidic.
The winner is the wine from the Alps though i must admit that the interesting flavors from the burgundy were unique.