Alsace Wine

Alsatian wine is produced in the Alsace region of France between the Vosges mountains in the west and the river Rhine in the east, and is nearly all white. Because of its Germanic influence, it is the only AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) region in France to produce wines labelled mostly by variety, typically from similar grape varieties to those used in German wine.

Along with Austria and Germany, Alsace produces some of the finest dry Rieslings in the world as well as highly aromatic Gewurztraminer wines. These are the two most widely planted varieties, followed by Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and the red Pinot Noir. Most of the rest is Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.

White WineClassificationsProducers & Cooperatives
Most of the white wines of Alsace are made from the aromatic grape varieties, so many characteristic Alsace wines are aromatic, floral and spicy. Since they very rarely have any oak barrel influences they tend to be very varietally pure in their character. Traditionally all Alsace wines were dry, but an ambition to produce wines with more intense and fruity character led some producers to make wines which contain some residual sugar. Since there is no official labelling that differentiates completely dry from off-dry (or even semi-sweet) wines, this has occasionally led to some confusion among consumers. It is more common to find residual sweetness in Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, which reach a higher natural sugar content on ripeness than in Riesling, Muscat or Sylvaner. Usually there is a “house style” as to residual sugar – some producers only produce totally dry wines, except for their dessert style wines.
Wines are produced under three different AOCs: Alsace AOC for white, rosé and red wines, Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and Crémant d’Alsace AOC for sparkling wines, a style pioneered by Dopff au Moulin in the 16th century. Both dry and sweet white wines are produced.
Producers calling themselves “Domaine” are supposed to only use grapes from their own vineyards. There are also several excellent winemaking cooperatives, such as the Cave de Turckheim.

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