Welcome to International Wine Region Ping-pong. Alsace has been bounced back and forth between France and Germany numerous times, and currently lives in France. Consequently, some of the wines in Alsace are made from the same grapes you find just over the border in Germany: Riesling and Gewürztraminer, which both account for about 20% of Alsace grapes. Other important Alsace varieties are Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
If we’ve given you the impression that Alsace is white wine central, then let us just say this: it is. 90% of Alsace wines are white wines. Moreover, 22% of all Alsace wine is Crémant d’Alsace, a sparkling white that can go toe to toe with Champagne any day—something backed up by its booming popularity in recent years.
If you are ever served an Alsace red, you can confidently impress everyone by saying it’s a Pinot Noir, because it is.
Though quite far north, the Alsace region is relatively warm, thanks to a microclimate created by the Voges mountain range to the west of the Rhine river, which defines the France-German border here as it runs from south to north. The mountains shelter the vineyards from the cold and damp weather from the west, making for a warm, dry winemaking paradise.
Archetypical white Alsace wines are flowery and peachy on the nose, and deliciously sharp and on the palate.
Photo by Cecile Musy on Unsplash