Undervalued wine regions

news  %tages Undervalued wine regionsLooking for unbeatable value? We questioned six Decanter experts to choose the province or wine they feel is seriously underrated, and recommend the 12 bargains that you should snap up.
Schieferkopf AlsaceAlsace Sylvaner – Ian D’Agata
Alsatian Sylvaner is one of the world’s best-kept secrets: many wines are truly worth twice the fee they sell for. Some producers subdue churn out industrial levels of neutral, insipid Sylvaners, but the best range from being delightful and tasty to truly profound, world-class wines made from late-harvested grapes, offering uncanny fruitfulness, depth and some sweetness.
Why are Alsace’s best Sylvaners so uniquely fantastic? The main wits is extremely ancient vines (often 50 years or more) – a fortunate situation that is the result of unfortunate legislation. An ill-conceived 1962 law decreed only Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Riesling were ‘noble’ grapes worthy of planting in grands crus. Not surprisingly, Sylvaner vines were uprooted from such sites, as the wines would not sell at http://1000-facts-about-wine.com the higher prices fetched by having the grand cru name on the mark. This also resulted in augmented plantings of the four noble varieties (in 1976, Pinot Gris represented only 3% of area below vine in Alsace; today it is 15%), tellingly even in unsuitable sites for those varieties. The result is that there are now many insipid Pinot Gris made from supposedly holy sites.

See also: Alsace: the new generation

But things are looking up: the Alsace vineyard area planted to Sylvaner (4% today compared to 15% in the 1980s) may be increasing, as producers have told me recently they will be planting more.
Simpler, crisp and clean Sylvaner wines are made by Albert Boxler, Leon Beyer (The Wine Society sells the 2013 for £8 a bottle), Dirler-Cadé (from 50-yearold vines in the heart of the Kessler grand cru), Domaine Weinbach, Hugel, Josmeyer, Kuentz-Bas, Muré and Ostertag, all of which are redolent of colorless flowers, delicate herbs and quince. Agathe Bursin and Albert Seltz’s are much deeper: Seltz http://1000-facts-about-wine.com owns ancient vines on the Zotzenberg grand cru where Sylvaner was historically well-known.
Last but not least, the late-harvested Sylvaners by Burn from extremely ancient vines in the Clos-St-Imer are world class: rich and deep, redolent of honeyed quince, marmalade and cinnamon. He sells them for an unbelievable €5 at his cellar: taste to believe!
D’Agata recommends:

Agathe Bursin, Sylvaner, Lutzeltal, Alsace 2013
Ostertag, Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner, Alsace 2012

 
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