Thursday, April 10, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: Cleebourg Pinot Gris - You Can Taste It, But It'll Cost You A Quarter

I love the grocery store! I don't have to try anything on, I don't have to search for sizes, I don't have to worry about if the color will look good on me. I don't have to measure to see if it will fit on a wall/in a room. Nope, at the grocery store, it's just reach and place in the cart.

Another reason I love the grocery store is that there are samples. All over the place. From fruit to soup to cheeses (I cannot resist a cheese sample) to fresh baked bread. I could seriously eat an entire meal just wandering around the aisles. And another reason for looking forward to a trip to the food store?  In Ohio, our grocery stores can sell wine! Yay! And there are samples! Double yay!
coin jar
A familiar sight at
Ohio store samplings!

But, those samples come at a price here. I kid you not. Somewhere on the books is a law that forbids Ohio wine sellers to give away free wine. Including samples. So, no matter where you go - the local store that I shop at (Heinen's, if you want to know the name), or Trader Joe's or World Market, you gotta ante up for that sample. So if you see me in the grocery store, and you hear a bunch of quarters jingling in my pocket, you know I am on my way to the wine sampling.

OK, I suppose it's not the biggest issue I will ever have to face in my retail adventures. It is kind of inconvenient and just  plain odd. But it also gives us a lot to joke about at the tastings, especially when someone "buys" you a round for 25 cents. I will also tell you that I am not a Winey Mom for nothing. I will never let a little quarter get in the way of my wine samples. All joking aside, samples are one of the best ways to NOT waste your time and money on a bottle of wine. I can usually tell with just a little sip or two if I will like a wine or not. Well worth digging some coins out of my pocket.

Cave de Cleebourg Pinot Gris bottle label, frontSuch was the case a while back, when I tasted a French Pinot Gris one Saturday afternoon. This was Cleebourg Pinot Gris (2011, 13%, Alsace, France). I have not had a lot of Pinot Gris, and I was glad they were sampling a French wine. I happen to know a little bit about the Alsace area thanks to the Winey Hubby's ancestors. Seems a whole branch of his family is from Colmar, which is in Alsace-Lorraine. The area has switched back and forth from French to German rule over the centuries, but at the time they lived there, Colmar was under French rule. So I was curious as to what a Pinot Gris from the land of the Winey ancestors would taste like. The sample was good, so I decided to spring for an entire bottle.

The first thing I noticed about the wine was that it poured out of the bottle heavily. Sort of like pouring liquid velvet. We're talking full bodied here - you could tell just by watching it! The nose gave off aromas of apple blossom, ripe honeysuckle and heavy summer flowers. The first flavor I tasted was of minerals, then golden honey followed by lime peel. It finished on that lime note, tart and almost sour. It delivered the entire gamut of flavors here - rich, creamy, sweet flavor giving way to a tart, juicy finish.

Buy this wine if you don't like your white sweet…and if you don't like it big and buttery. But if you like big, rich flavor that starts out creamy and end up refreshingly tart, this one is for you.

I'll even spring for the quarter if we happen to meet at a tasting some day!

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