05 February 2006

Box lunch

Boxler 2002 Pinot Blanc L20R (Alsace) – Surprisingly non-spicy for Boxler, replacing the auxerrois-derived exotica and weight with vivid crystalline pear and piercing intensity. Very nearly perfect.

Boxler's arcane system of lot numbering goes beyond my knowledge here – the R stands for either a vineyard or a separate cuvée, but I don't know which – though whatever it is, it's a decidedly different approach to the grape. Actually, "the grape" is a misnomer at Boxler, as it is at most Alsatian domaines; virtually all pinot blancs are actually blends (often, but not always, 50/50) with auxerrois, a grape much more like pinot gris in its spicy, often-sweet intensity unless deliberately picked early (as at Trimbach). Plus, Boxler's pinot blancs are usually decidedly off-dry; this has only the slightest hint of sweetness...more softness than sugar...though it doesn't lack the intensity and clarity this producer is regularly known for. Alcohol: 12.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: Chadderdon.

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