Christophe Mittnacht Gyotaku 2021
This soft, peachy white wine, backed by a nice tang of sweet-tart acidity, displaying flavors of apricot and Gala apple, with a hint of mango and a clean finish.
The wine is made specifically for Sushi and Sashimi and was created through the marriage of a French Winemaker and a Japanese Chef. “Gyotaku” is a traditional Japanese art form created by pressing paper onto a fish covered in ink.
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Founded in 1958, Domaine Mittnacht is a family-run estate led by the charming couple of Christophe and Yuka Mittnacht. They farm some of the finest vineyards around the town of Hunawihr, where Christophe was an early pioneer of the biodynamic movement, believing that biologically complex, complete soils are essential for producing elegant and terroir driven wines. The domaine was officially certified biodynamic in 1999 – one of the very first in all of Alsace. The old vines holdings include the Grand Cru Rosacker (where the fabled Clos-St.-Hune is located), as well as excellent sites between Ribeauville and Riquewihr. Christophe believes in minimal intervention and letting the soil sing using neutral wood and tank to deliver spot-on, expressive and beautifully delicate wines.
With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.
The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s 51 Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.
Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsace Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.
Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsace wines are single-varietal bottlings and unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.