Where does it come from:
The origin of Altesse has been the subject of some debate. It has been suggested that it's identical to Furmint, the noble Hungarian variety used to make the great sweet wine Tokaij. However others suspect that it is indigenous to the hills of Savoie. Today there are fewer than 1,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in France, though there is a small quantity in Switzerland.
What's it like for the farmer:
Altesse needs gentle care, as it is quite to susceptible to the most common forms of grape rot.
Domaine Dirler-Cadé, Riesling, "Saering,"
Alsace Grand Cru, 2009
Distributor: T Edward Wine, 66 W. Broadway, Suite 201, New York NY, 10007
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As we come to the end of April, we say goodbye to Off-Dry Whites. But we won't go out without a bang. With this last just-sweet-enough bottle, we head back to Alsace to visit a favorite estate: Domaine Dirler-Cadé. The Dirler Sylvaner was our very first Wine of the Week. As spring hurtles toward summer, it seems only fitting to sneak in one last warming, rich white and it seems only right to make it an Alsatian Riesling.
As we've said before, Dirler-Cadé is one of the best-loved and respected estates in Alsace and maybe anywhere in France. The estate dates back to 1871 and has been making much sought-after wines since at least mid-century. However, conversion to organic and then biodynamic viticulture in the mid-1990s has brought a new level of attention and rightfully so. The work in the vineyards is considered impeccable and the quality level shows through in the wines.
The Grand Cru vineyard known as Saering is as complex as one would expect, combining the two basic soil type that Alsace is known for: Sandstone and limestone. The sandy side allows for good drainage and provides a silky, elegant texture, while the limestone provides minerality and acidity. Dirler's Riesling in 2009 shows both great vineyard character and the ripeness of the vintage. The wine is full of sweet pink grapefruit, white peach and waxy honey notes, bolstered by vibrant, ringing acidity.
Wine Director, Blue Ribbon Restaurants