Where exactly is Alsace? Silly question? Not really as I bet many people would find it hard to place on a map of France. The answer is it’s the most easterly province about one-third down the country, right on the border with Germany. And speaking of Germany, you could well believe that’s where you are as you wander the streets of quaint villages with names like Egusheim, Gertwiller and Obernai. Not surprising really as Alsace was part of Germany for long periods of time and it still has rather a split personality…
What type of wine does Alsace produce? Some of the finest, most food-friendly, distinctive, delicious white wines in the whole of France! Mainly. Because there are also elegant reds made from Pinot Noir, luscious dessert wines, AND, Alsace’s hidden secret, refreshing sparkling wines. In fact, Alsace produces 25% of all the Crémant made in France.
Back to the whites – the four main grapes are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat which produce aromatic, fragrant, rich wines which are a perfect match for the wonderful food of the region. And there’s also Sylvaner, Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc. There’s a classification system and at the top of the tree is Grand Cru which accounts for just 5% of the wines produced. Tall ‘Germanic-shaped’ bottles are used for all the wines (except the Cremants), another thing which may fool you into thinking that you are over the border.
The cuisine of Alsace is characterised by both French and German influences, and eggs, potatoes, cabbage and various meats are the staple foods. Typical dishes are Choucroute Garnie, Baeckeoffe, Tarte Flambee, Kugelhopf, and Foie Gras. The wines are a perfect match for the rich food. Homely bistros abound, and for a splurge there are plenty of Michelin-starred, gastronomic restaurants.
If you want to experience all these delights for yourself in the company of other wine lovers, then join us on a wonderful wine tour to Alsace from 14th -17th October 2021. Based in the pretty town of Colmar, we’ll visit several wine producers and taste lots of their lovely wines, enjoy gourmet food, and we’ll also visit a famous local castle.