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Alsace

The vineyards of Alsace are spread over 15,000 hectares, the vines are planted along the hillsides between Strasbourg and Mulhouse. The Romans introduced vines in the region and made Alsatian wines highly prestigious in Europe. Winegrowing prosperity was then curtailed by wars, robbery and diseases from the 16th century onwards. Wine-growing resumed at the beginning of the 20th century when Alsatian winegrowers started improving the quality of the vineyards by adopting a quality-based approach focused on regional grapes. These efforts definitively got the recognition they deserved with the creation of several regional AOC statuses, Alsace in 1962, Alsace Grand Cru in 1975 and Crémant d’Alsace in 1876. Alsace built its reputation on its Riesling based white wines, which are now very highly regarded worldwide. Alsatian wines are bottled in the characteristic tall bottles, known as “Flûtes d'Alsace”.


Appellations

AOC Alsace

Created in 1962, the wines coming from this appellation are all issued from designated parcels and from the same grape variety. They can also be a blend of several grapes and will then be classified as “Edelzwicker” or “Gentil”.

AOC Alsace Grand Cru

51 classified areas are included in this AOC and produce 4% of the Alsace wine. There are only 4 “noble” grape varieties, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat. The designation is only attributed to wines satisfying a number of quality-related criteria.

AOC Crémant d’Alsace

This AOC was created to reward the best Alsatian sparkling wines, made with Pinot Blanc and usually picked at the beginning of the harvest when grapes offer the best balance for sparkling wines.

Grapes

Gewurztraminer

Its colour is yellow with light golden notes. With an intense and complex nose of exotic fruits, flowers, citrus and sweet spices, it is very well paired with Asian food or Munster cheese.

Riesling

Riesling is a pale grape with a yellow colour and a bright green touch. Riesling wines have aromas of fruits, white flowers and sometimes a mineral character, and can be quite full bodied. It is often consumed with scallops and fish, or as a desert wine with lemon pie.

Pinot Gris

Known as Pinot Grigio in other coutries, it produces wines with a yellow-gold or even amber colour which have a pronounced intensity of fresh and dried fruits with smoky aromas of underwood.

Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois

These grapes are often blended to produce light and refreshing white wines, which have a pale yellow colour with hints of green. Fresh nose, delicately fruity with a floral touch.

Sylvaner

Has a clear colour with green notes, a fresh and light nose with fruity and floral aromas. It is an ideal easy-drinking summer wine.

Muscat

Produces clear yellow wines with light silvery notes. The nose intensity is sometimes distinctively grapey with subtle floral hints.

Pinot Noir

The only red grape of Alsace, it gives light and fresh wine with flavours of cherry and raspberry. Very Burgundian-style.


Key Figures

Surface: 15,500 ha
Winemakers: 4,400
Production: 150m bottles

Find more information on the region and its wines on the official website of the region or on Wikipedia


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