Is Alsace France's New Wine Frontier? | EUROtoday

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In the shadow of the Vosges mountains, discover out what makes Alsace wines particular.

Perched within the far north east of France, the Alsace area is an outlier in some ways. As any native vacationer information will emphatically inform you, Alsace is French – and NOT German. In reality, the area has solely ever been part of Germany throughout transient durations of imperial enlargement, however one could possibly be fooled by its vividly painted half-timbered dwellings that may not be misplaced in Baden-Württemberg on the opposite aspect of the border.

Alsace's wine tradition additionally expresses the area's proximity to its neighbor to the east. Grape forms of French origin corresponding to Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir are joined by the Germanic Gewürztraminer and Riesling. And unusually in France, these varietal names are proudly displayed on bottles of Alsace's designation of origin wines. Alsace's most well-known wine villages, corresponding to Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and Kaysersberg, are discovered within the Upper Rhine divisionwith Colmar as its capital.

It is right here that the Vosges mountains to the west attain their highest peaks, making a rain shadow that makes Colmar France's second driest metropolis after Perpignan within the far south. Long continental summers, steep, well-exposed vineyards and funky nights mix to make sure absolutely ripe grapes that give complicated, wealthy flavors. Most of Alsace's superior grand cru vineyards are discovered within the Upper Rhine, the place soils are so complicated and assorted that limestone pebbles, clay, gravel and schist would possibly all be discovered inside meters of each other. To be labeled as grand cru, Alsace wines (albeit with a handful of exceptions) should be made with one of many 4 'noble' white grape varieties: the steely, long-lived Riesling; the grape-scented Muscat; the exotically perfumed Gewürztraminer; and the full-bodied, oily Pinot Gris.

Levels of sweetness in Alsace wines differ wildly, from bone dry to the candy, luscious, late-harvested collection of noble grains wines, constituted of hand-picked shrivelled berries which have usually been attacked by noble rot. It can generally be troublesome to know the residual sugar content material of an Alsace wine earlier than pulling the cork, though producers are more and more utilizing type codes on their again labels to assist information the patron. Not to be neglected is the Lower Rhine, (confusingly) positioned within the north of Alsace. Although the wines are typically lighter in type, stellar estates, corresponding to Marc Kreydenweiss in Andlau and Domaine Bernhard & Reibel in Châtenois, make distinctive wines that adorn the lists of a lot of France's high Michelin-starred eating places, in addition to the comfy winstubs of close by Strasbourg.


Domaine Trimbach

CHOICE WINE: Riesling 'Clos Ste-Hune' 2017

Marc Kreydenweiss

CHOICE WINE: Pinot Gris Grand Cru 'Moenchburg' 2020

Domaine Zind Humbrecht

CHOICE WINE: Gewurztraminer Grand Cru 'Hengst' 2011 Late Harvest

From France Today Magazine

Lead photograph credit score: © DOMAIN TRIMBACH

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Is the Alsace France’s New Wine Frontier?