Alsace

The magical land between the Vosges and the Rhine is best known as a region offering many gustatory delights, both upon the plate and in the glass. The region was home to a very early version of "weight-watchers" when the Societe des Maigres (the League of Lean Men) was founded in the seventeenth century.

Alsace offers a diversion from one primary characteristic of French winegrowing districts, in that the wines are labelled with the name of the grape variety, rather than that of village or region. And it's worth noting that while the names of these varieties are often Germanic, like Riesling and Gewurztraminer (without the umlaut in French), the style of the wines has more similarity to that of Burgundy than it does with the bottlings from the other side of the Rhine.

German ownership of Alsace between 1871 and 1918 did little to change this. Other notable wines are made from Pinot Gris, Muscat, Pinot Auxerrois and Sylvaner, though the latter two are still excluded from Grand Cru status in most cases.

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