Wines and Sub Regions of Alsace

Posted by on Nov 8, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Wines and Sub Regions of Alsace

Alsace is broken down into two divisions the Haut-Rhin to the south and Bas Rhine to the north. Both areas produce high quality wine in the lower slopes, which face east towards Germany. The grape varieties for this region include:

  • Riesling is from Noble Varietal. Riesling is a good steely, fine fruit with a high acidity. Riesling is also ideal for the production of late harvest wines.
  • Gewurztraminer is from a Noble Varietal. Gewurz is the German word for spice. The nose of this wine is very floral and has a lot of spicy notes. Gewurztraminer is low in acidity but high in alcohol. This type of wine is great with Asian Cuisine including Thai food.
  • Pinot Gris is from a Noble Varietal. Pinot Gris- Has a similar pinkish hue as Gewurztraminer but it has more flavours such as dried fruit, smoky and or honey character.
  • Muscat is from a Noble Varietal. This grape is on the decline in Alsace. It has huge problems with being prone to rot and also has a low yield making it very difficult for viticulturist to work with. Muscat is very dry and has grapey muscat flavour.
  • Pinot Blanc is a light, refreshing wine that is seeing some growth in this region. It is usually used in the region for the production of sparkling wine.
  • Sylvaner was once the crown jewel of Alsace but has since been dethroned. It mostly grows in Bas-Rhin and is mostly used in blends, as it doesn’t really have any distinguishing flavours.
  • Pinot Noir is the only red wine grown in this region and it is mostly grown for local consumers, who want something more than white wine. There are two styles, the traditional fruity rose and typical light body red wine that you would find in North America.

There are four classifications for Alsace wines that you will find on the label when purchasing these wines. Alsace AC (Appellation Controlee) or Vin d’Alsace AC, the latt


er makes up 80% of wines produced in this region. You will usually find individual grape variety on the label, such as Riesling. Alsace Grand Cru AC currently has 51 vineyards that fall under this classification. They also must only produce single noble varieties of Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris. The label will include the vineyard along with the varietal, for example Plaffenheim Riesling. The next two classifications are based on the ripeness of the grapes. Vendantonge Tardive (VT) which means Late Harvest is only made from 4 noble grapes and can be either dry or sweet. Selection de Grains Nobles (SGN) or Selection of Noble Rotten Grapes is only produced in great wine production years and are always sweet. The wines from this classification are only made from one of the four noble grapes.

About Dave Keighron

Dave Keighron has written 63 posts in this blog.

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