Wine making began in Alsace during the Roman conquest.

The Alsatians are a mixture of French and German, with many of the elderly inhabitants still speaking Alsatian, a German dialect, in the home. Despite living in the smallest winemaking region in France, these people boast of their centuries of winemaking traditions.

Six thousand wine growers live in this area which is near the German border. The land is 190 km (118 mi) by 50km (31mi) and is bordered on the West by the Vosages and the East by the Rhine. 450,000 of the areas 1.8 million residents live in Strasbourg alone.

This region experiences hot summers and cold winters with frequent snowfall. Soil in this region is among the most diverse types of all France's grape producing regions. The soil varies from sand and granite to clay and marl, with some areas of volcanic soil. Some of the finest Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer emerge in this area nestled on neatly laid out rows of hardy vines.

The juice of these grapes, grown on 37,0000 acres eventually fill 165 million bottles; 20% of France's annual wine output. Ninety percent is dedicated to making world famous whites, whose names betray their German influence.

Along with the well-known Riesling and Gewurztraminer, which comprise 23% and 18% of Alsace's unique grapes, there are also Tokay and Sylvaner.

Made solely from Pinot Gris, Tokay is a delightful full-bodied white. 22 million bottles of this liquid treat is produced on a mere 3,200 acres of clay-limestone. This wine has an excellent aroma of wood and spice and goes well with Quiche Lorraine but can even substitute a red whine when serving a red meat dish.

Sylavaner, which originated in Austria, has also been made in Alsace for over 200 years or as the Alsatians would say 'only' two centuries. It is the starting point of a fruity, dry white that is perfect with fish or pork. However, Alsatians serve it with nothing more than fresh sauerkraut.

12% of Alsace's vineyards or 3,000 acres is dedicated to producing of 20 million bottles of this refreshing light white that ages well up to five years.

Those that enjoy a fruity wine, will enjoy the Pinot Blanc which is a dry white that hints of peaches or pears and goes perfectly with a Munster cheese. 7,000 acres of sandstone is the soil that produces 33 million bottles of this wine.

Cremant d'Alsace, is a sparkling white made the same way as Champagne and is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir. It has an aroma of red fruits, apricots and almonds that makes it a perfect pair with Langres cheese.

When investigating an Alsatian wine be certain to look for the classification 'Grand Crus', a grade which distinguishes the best of this regions' wines.

Swirl the wine gently, sniff and taste.

Sip of Wine

  Cooked or Corked?
  Home Winemakers
  Wine Aging Table
  Wine and Cheese
  Wine and Health
  Wine Grading
  Wine Making
  Wine Storage

Wine Regions

  British Columbia, Canada
  Northern California
  Southern California
  Cotes Du Rhone
  New York

Copyright 2006 by OddSource