Today we celebrate French National Day – also called the Bastille Day – with a feature on top wines from Alsace! Among all French wine regions, the region of Alsace came with a complex history where the region’s inhabitants have seen alternating German and French rule for hundreds of years till when the end of Second World War saw the region retroceded and from that point onwards remained permanently as part of France. If Bastille Day is all about celebrating the unity of French people, enjoying wines of Alsace most certainly embrace that spirit!

The geological profile of Alsace is a mosaic-like mix of igneous and sedimentary soil featuring granite, limestone, clay, shale and sandstone. On mountain sides 1. Granite and gneiss 2. Shale 3. Volcanic-sedimentary rock 4. Sandstone Sub Vosges hill 5. Calcareous clay 6. Marl-calcareous clay 7. Marl-sandstone 8. Marl-limestone-sandstone 9. Calcareous-sandstone 10. Clayey-marl Plains 11. Colluvial 12. Alluvial 13. Loess and Loam

The wines of Alsace show tremendous diversity owing to the region’s heterogenous soil types. Leading producers curate not only precise, well-delineated dry whites from prized vineyards; but also luscious, extravagant and extremely ageworthy sweet whites. Team WWX has shortlisted some of the best producers in the region and their dry and sweet white offerings for your consideration today.

Dry wines of Alsace

Map showing where Alsace Grand Cru lies | Notable ones include Searing, Vorbourg, Clos St Landelin, Goldert, Hengst, Brand, Schlossberg, Furstentum, Schoenenburg, Rosacker, Clos Ste Hune, Windsbuhl, Altenberg de Bergheim and Rangen de Thann Grand Cru

The great dry whites of Alsace are mostly crafted from the four noble varieties: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewurztraminer. In dry forms, these varieties tend to show their typicity better than sweeter versions. Grand Cru bottlings often see extended hang time, thus allowing fruit and floral aromatics to fully develop and evolve over Alsace’s long, dry autumn. This results in the creation of full-bodied, intense wines with a complex bouquet of candied citrus and fresh tropical fruit aromas that are crisp, precise and extremely minerally on the palate.

Sweet wines of Alsace

Selection des Grains Nobles | The richest, most luscious and decadent expression of wines of Alsace

Sweet wines of Alsace are again often the product of the four noble grape varieties of the region. If you are looking for sweet wines of Alsace, simply hunt down bottles labelled Vendanges Tardives and Selection de Grains Nobles. The latter “Selection de Grains Nobles” or often time abbreviated SGN guarantee that the wine will be luscious and rich; whilst the earlier “Vendanges Tardives”, meaning Late Harvest, can give style varying from full-bodied, dry all the way to luscious sweet wines. Selection de Grains Nobles Alsatian whites are made from botrytised berries. Expect full-fledged botrytis expressions: honey, candied fruit, truffle, floral essence in these wines.
Photo Credit: Vins d’Alsace