Restless in mind and spirit, Francois Barmes is one of Alsace's most innovative winemakers. He's also probably the most fun to visit. One memorable tasting in Francois and Genevieve Barmes-Buecher's cellar in Wettolsheim lasted more than four hours--for just two vintages of wine, which Francois divvied up into more than sixty tiny unique bottlings!
Francois and his wife, Genevieve, inherited (and then merged) some of Alsace's best-managed vineyards when they took over for their respective parents. Each of their wines is a pure expression of these special parcels, which Francois farms with fanatical attention to detail. Francois was an early convert to biodynamic farming methods, and when we tasted with him after his first biodynamic vintage his wild eyes lit up as he described the unbelievable natural ripeness and acidity of the grapes he harvested. We knew that we were in the presence of either genius or madness. Repeated exposure to Francois's wines has convinced us it was the former.
Pinot Auxerrois is a special clone of Pinot Blanc, an indigenous grape in Alsace. It's a high-toned variety that usually carries some residual sugar, and oftentimes you'll see Pinot Auxerrois blended with Pinot Blanc. The 2004 Barmes-Buecher Pinot Auxerrois is brilliant pale yellow in the glass. Clean, intense bouquet of peanuts, almonds, and flowery hawthorns. A fresh, rich, and fat but not flabby palate and finishes with excellent acids and a hint of butter.
Suggested Food Pairing:
We can't help but think of classic chourcrout garni, the Alsacienne dish comprised of bacon, sausages, and homemade sauerkraut. You might "springify" the dish by adding a seafood sausage or some kind of smoked fish. Alternatively, this would pair well with a quiche or some of the fine organic Munster cheese produced in Alsace (reminiscent of the deli Munster you can purchase in any grocery, but much more full flavored and aromatic). Try one from Jean Roussey, or ask your local cheese shop for what they have in stock.