Wine making began in Alsace during the
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
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
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.
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