The wines of Alsace !

I admit right off the bat, this would be the least experience with as the region is mostly whites and I am mostly red. However, over the years I have my share of Alsacian wines and even done a bit of the wine route of Alsace. I like to update this older post, now that I am more inclined to write about one of my favorite hobbies, wine drinking, Therefore, let me tell you a bit of the wines of Alsace! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Alsatian vineyard is a long ribbon 170 km long, located at the foot of the Vosges massif, which stretches from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south, completed by a wine-growing island on the border of Germany, around Wissembourg and of Cleebourg.  In 1828, the vineyard thus extended over 30,000 hectares (ha) , but competition from wines from the south and phylloxera in the second half of the 19C and then the world wars of the 20C led to a long process of decline, In 1948, the vineyard had only 9,500 ha. Today, the vineyard covers more than 15,000 ha, a quarter of sales being exported; and ironically mostly to Germany. Recognised in 1962, today the protected designation of origin AOC Alsace represents ‘ over 70% of the production including 90% of white wines. In 2011, AOC Alsace was supplemented with two geographical names: the Communales (villages) and the Lieux-dits (localities).

The majority of Alsatian wines are dry whites (around 80%), aromatic, fruity and floral, well typified by their grape variety. Most of the wines come from a single grape variety, with the exception of a few grands crus (Kaefferkopf or Altenberg for example), crémant and edelzwicker. Frequent, on the label, the mention of the grape variety is not mandatory. Recognized in 1984, the Alsatian “late harvest” and “selections of noble grains” are sweet wines from overripe harvests and subject to very strict production conditions, particularly with regard to the sugar level of the grapes. There are also 51 grands crus in Alsace, corresponding to terroirs defined according to geological and climatic criteria, and meeting strict production and development criteria (limited yields, manual harvesting, use of limited grape varieties, etc). Finally, Alsace is at the top of the production of crémants (sparklers méthode champenoise) in France.

The grapes are  Riesling, the driest of Alsace wines. The Sylvaner, dry, fruity and fresh.  The Gewurztraminer, full-bodied and fruity. The Pinot Blanc, all in balance Pinot Gris, ample and fragrant. The Pinot Noir, the only red of Alsace wines, Light, dry and delicately fruity, is drunk chilled and replaces the usual summer rosé. Crémant, festive and sparkling from Pinot blanc, Pinot noir or Riesling, Crémant d´Alsace is a sparkling wine. Muscat d ‘Alsace comes from the assembly or not of three varieties of muscat: white muscat with small grains, pink muscat with small grains and muscat Ottonel.  Only the Alsace wine called either “Edelzwicker”, or “Zwicker” or “Gentil” is a white wine made from the assembly of white grape varieties. The AOP Alsace, AOP Alsace Grand Cru, which has 51 identified terroirs, and finally, for sweet and syrupy wines, Vendanges tardives (VT) and Sélections de grains nobles (SGN).

The latest tasting ratings shows  2016 excellent, 2017 good, 2018 very good, 2019 excellent., 2020 very good, and 2021 good.

The wines of the Bas-Rhin are, by nature, more discreet than those of the Haut-Rhin. They can sometimes reach peaks of finesse (terroir d’Andlau) or power (terroir de Barr), The Haut-Rhin crus the northern part of the department, from Bergheim to Kaysersberg, produces the most balanced and attractive Alsace wines. The Rieslings are the finest and most distinguished, the Pinot Gris and the Gewürztraminers more elegant than powerful. The Alsace appellation may or may not be followed by the name of one of the authorized grape varieties. In this case, the wine is vinified exclusively from grapes of this variety. Blended wines are also classified under this appellation. The Alsace grand cru count 51 terroirs can claim the Grand Cru appellation. And four noble grape varieties can access this level of terroir: Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. The sylvaner can also be authorized, but only on the terroir of Zotzenberg. And the Altenberg de Bergheim and Kaefferkopf terroirs can claim the Grand Cru appellation even if they come from a blend of defined and regulated noble grape varieties. The Alsace late harvest (VT) and Alsace selection of noble grains (SGN) are the top of the quality, thanks to a strict control of the grape and the wine, subjected to a compulsory tasting. VTs are made from grapes rich in natural sugar and generally retain some residual sugar. SGNs, as their name suggests, are made from grapes enriched with noble rot and rival the greatest sweet wines in the world., The Crémant d’Alsace are sparkling wines, produced using techniques identical to those used for champagne. An appellation in constant progression.

 I like to show some of my latest tasted into the world of Alsace wines chez moi !

My wonderful red Klipfel Pinot Noir: produces rustic, light wines that give off aromas of cherry, cranberry, strawberry and raspberry with supple, smooth tannins. Pinot Noir in Alsace is required by law to be bottled in tall flute-shape bottles, just like the white wines produced in the region. Webpage: https://www.klipfel.com/en/family-house.html

alsace-klipfel-pinot-noir-2016

Louis Hauller Family.  A pale gold color, limpid and brilliant Riesling 2012. A nuanced nose revealing aromas of white flowers, citrus fruits and mineral notes. Its attack on the palate is lively with fresh acidity. In the mid-palate, a nice volume with these mineral notes that we found on the nose. webpage: https://www.famillehauller.com/en/

alsace-louis-hauller-riesling-2012

Wolfberger is cooperative whose history dates back to 1902 with the grouping of winegrowers around the cellars of Eguisheim and Dambach-la-Ville. Wolfberger continues its development and counts, in 2021, 420 vine growers members of the cooperative and more of 1200 ha of vineyard. Produced from the seven Alsatian grape varieties (Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sylvaner and Muscat d’Alsace). It also produces wines from localities producing Appellation Alsace Grand Cru wines which include: Rangen, Pfersigberg, Eichberg, Kirchberg-de-barr, Steinert, Ollwiller, Steingrubler, Mandelberg, Hatschbourg, Hengst, Florimont, Pfingstberg , Spiegel, Muenchberg, and Frankstein. Also produces and markets AOC Crémants d’Alsace. In addition to wines and crémants, Wolfberger also produces Eaux-de-Vie and Liqueurs. These range from traditional eaux-de-vie, such as Mirabelle or Raspberry, to innovative liqueurs such as the NEO range of liqueurs. I have tried what you see in the bottles ! Webpage: https://www.wolfberger.com/en/

alsace-wolfberger-2016

The official wines of Alsace on its wine routes: https://www.vinsalsace.com/en/vignoble-route-des-vins/

The wines routes of Alsacehttps://www.wineroute.alsace/wine-of-alsace/

The Alsace tourist board on the wine routeshttps://www.visit.alsace/en/the-alsace-wine-route/

There you go folks, a dandy selection of Alsace, and some small introduction to the wines of Alsace. We do love wines, and its shows in my blog. Hope you the Alsace wines and this post as I !

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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