Some excellent white wines come from Alsace. The white wines that come out of Alsace, a region in northeast France tucked along the German border, and bounded by the Rhine River on the east, are consistent with exceptional quality and style. Alsace wines are uniquely influenced by the soil and climate of their small growing area.
Although Alsace and German wines are produced from several of the same grape varieties, the results are significantly different. Alsace wines are drier, more vibrant and in tune with American wine palate. The import of Alsace wines to American has grown dramatically in the past ten years.
While there are several grape varieties grown in Alsace, there are three that merit discussion here, and they are all white. Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gewurztraminer (try to say that six-times quickly). Alsace wines are labeled by variety, contrary to the usual french policy of labeling by the name of vineyard.
Riesling, the most widely planted and noblest grape type in Alsace, is transformed into the region’s most cherished wine. One that is aromatic, rich and peachy with great finesse, Reisling is an ideal accompaniment to seafood, poultry, and light meats.
Gewurztraminer, which is also a widely planted grape, is luscious, exotic, entirely unsubtle and, yet is adry wine with spicy hints of rose petals, vanilla, peaches, and mangoes. Gewurztraminer teams up with hot or strongly flavored foods.
Pinot Blanc is also known in the area as Klevner or Clevner and represents nearly 20 percents of Alsace plantings. It is a charming, stylish light wine that has become increasingly popular among vintners. It also serves as the base for the regional sparkling wines.
The next time you are in a wine shop and tempted to order another bottle of Chardonnay turn to the section that says “Alsace” or “French Whites” and give an Alsace wine a try.