Being a longtime fan of the Ehrharts’ wines, it was an obvious choice to visit Alsace and meet Philippe and Corrine Ehrhart. They are very much like their wines—quiet strength, no flash, completely authentic—they know who they are and where they come from. All of their wines are organic and biodynamic and fermented in stainless steel. Sounds simple, but these days I think it’s harder and harder to come by both.
They are a family business, first and foremost. During our visit we met in the old tasting room, since they were in the midst of large-scale building project. Last year, they completed the new winemaking facility and next year they will be done building their tasting room and cellar. They are moving from the middle of Wettolsheim (just outside of Colmar) to the edge of Wettolsheim, so they have room to grow are closer to La Route des Vins. As soon as the new tasting room is built, Philippe’s parents will move to live atop the new facilities, as this is what they are accustomed to: They need to be “on top” of things. This family has three generations of history hand crafting their product through all phases.
Tasting with winemakers, you never know what ground you will cover (pardon the pun), but that is exactly what we discussed: terroir. While we were tasting, Corinne showed me on the map the location of each vineyard site. I was noticing the difference in body between Hengst and Herrenwerg and she noted that is because Hengst is higher in elevation and has a greater amount of red clay, which is attributed to the fuller body. Information like that is invaluable to tasting and understanding wine.
If you are ever in Alsace, Colmar is well worth the visit as is seeing the Ehrharts and the neighboring town of Eguisheim. This month in Everyday Libations, we are featuring one of my favorites from the Ehrharts, Pinot Auxerrois. It’s a great summer wine to have on hand to pair with appetizers and salads.
In Burgundy, I had the good fortune to meet up with Jeanne Marie de Champs of Domaines et Saveurs. She took precious time out of her schedule to give us a glorious afternoon in Burgundy meeting two winemakers whose wines I was familiar with and one new winemaker. Meeting the young and rosy-cheeked Philippe Pernot, grandson of Paul Pernot, was a great way to end the day of tasting. Philippe, raised amongst winemaking, married the daughter of a Puligny grower ,and thus... a winery is born, Domaine Pernot-Bélicard.
Philippe is into his fourth vintage. Having just tasted whites from two masterful vintners in the area, it was extremely interesting to taste his wines at the end of the day. While some of his wines didn’t have the preciseness as the elders I had just tasted, they were still great wines and extremely enjoyable. There was a sense of earnestness and drive to all his wines. The wines show great promise for immediate drinking and for the cellar. You can taste his understanding of his vineyards, and his unassuming style really comes through in his wines. The minerality is there, and he lets the uniqueness of each vineyard shine. The highlights from our barrel tasting were the Meursault (Village, $50) and the Puligny Montrachet Premiere Cru Camp Canet ($79).
I asked Jeanne Marie de Champs why she had chosen to add Philippe to her portfolio and she said, “I had been tasting his work along the way and seen him work his vineyards.” (She likes to drop by unannounced.) “He understands his vineyards and knows his craft, first and foremost. I see a bright future for him and his wines.” I couldn’t agree more.
This month in Company’s Coming we are featuring..... We have also added his other wines to the store. Be sure to sign up to try some.
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.