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Maxing Out On Alsatian Wines

The scoop on Alsatian wines by Max on Wine…

Located in the northeast of France from Strasbourg to Mulhouse, between the Vosges mountain range and the Rhin valley stretching across two departments Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin, the wines the region of Alsace are predominantly dry or sweet white wines.

In Alsace, the grape varieties are very important because all of the wines are single grape wines. The name of the grape variety becomes the name of the wine, for example: Riesling, Gewürztraminer. There are eight grape varieties, hence eight appellations.

Gewürztraminer (subtle lichee and rose flavor)
Riesling (dry yet fruity)
Pinot Gris (powerful yet subtle fruit flavor)
Muscat (strong musky flavor)

These four first grape varieties produce only white single variety wines. These are the only Alsatian wines eligible for classification as ‘Grand Cru.” These are also the only wines /grape varieties eligible for the sweet wine category of “vendanges tardives” or “selection de grains nobles” meaning “late harvested.”

Sylvaner (light, fuity, refreshing)
Pinot Blanc (vibrant, flexible, balanced)
Chasselas (light, dry, refreshing)
Pinot Noir (Red /rose wine with cherry flavor)

These, also, are “mono-grape” wines.

Alsace also produces two more wines:

Edelzwicker (white, dry, fruity)

It’s a mixture of the first four varieties listed here and is the only Alsatian wine able to be sold in bottles of one liter instead of 75cl.

Cremant d’Alsace (bubbly, fruity, dry)

Often considered as a competitor for some champagne varieties.

Here are some suggestions for enjoying Alsatian wines:

Aperitif: Muscat or Cremant
Foie gras: “vendanges tardives” or “selection de grains nobles” Charcuterie: Sylvaner, Edelzwicker, Pinot Noir
Shellfish: Riesling, Sylvaner
Fish: Riesling
Poultry: Riesling
Saurkraut: Riesling
Munster: Gewurztraminer
Desserts: Gewurztraminer

So enjoy, experiment, have an eating adventure! Bon appetit !

Max Bachellerie for Parler Paris

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. Every month Max gives our Parler Paris readers a lesson or explanation or about a specific production area in France. Visit /parlerparis/gourmet/maxonwine.html for more information. You may also contact Max at [email protected] or call +33 (0) (in Paris) to arrange a PRIVATE WINE TASTING PARTY!


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