After 50 years of doing this, we are still awestruck by the stories of wineries such as Biecher. They established their cellar at the foot of the Vosges Mountains in Alsace in 1762 and is still in the hands of the founding family. One can only imagine what thoughts are with Olivier Biecher as he contemplates keeping the honor of his family tradition as have his ancestors for over 250 years. And, all of this on the same plot of land.
Along with the incredible history, Biecher is the largest organic producer in their village, Saint-Hippolyte. The village is famous for its protective wall built in 1316, and still stands today. The only monument to that era is the "Tour des Cigognes" (Stork's tower).
While our story is certainly about the Biecher Family, it is also about this incredible grape, Pinot Gris. It is part of the royal family of Pinots with Pinot Noir at the top. The word "Pinot" translates to "pine cone" in French and refers to the shape of the grape clusters which literally remind one of a pine cone. It doesn't get any simpler.
Pinot Gris is really two different grapes with the same name. In Italy it is known as Pinot Grigio and is prolific in every appellation. In Alsace it is highly revered as a grape of enormous potential. The density and presence helps prolong the inevitable Asian pear and green apple flavors mixed with extraordinary spices like cinnamon and clove. Its tight finish begs for raw oysters or shrimp diablo.