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In five centuries there are no other vineyards which suffered as many obstacles as in Alsace. Today it is ranked as being one of the most beautiful production regions of France.
Though only distantly-related to the vineyards we know today, they indeed existed well before mankind appeared in this geographic region which was to form the Rhine Valley. As of the 2nd Century AD, wine transported on both the Moselle and Rhine rivers, also prove how quickly the production stage moved into the trading era. The invasion of the Germans during the 5th century resulted in a slight decline of wine-making under the reign of the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties, of a growing number of bishoprics, abbey and convents which were created at this time. Vineyards slowly covered the Alsace region.
At the beginning of the 13th century there were about a hundred wine-making villages and 170 during the 14th century. This expansion pursued without interruption up until the 16th century during which it reached its heyday.
The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), was a devastating period due to rampaging armies, pillaging, hunger and the pest which had catastrophic consequences on wine-making as on other regional economic activities. The villages were ruined and the vineyards destroyed. But after the war everything was neatly built up again.
In 1870, this mass production was maintained during the German occupation. Traders bought acidic wines at low prices coming from productive grape varieties. These wines, with no body and no fruity touch, were perfect for making German artificial wines, diluted with water and added sugar and aromas. The Vins d’Alsace lost their identity while the market surge of adulterated wines resulted in prices steeply dropping. Climatic incidents and vineyard diseases such as powdery mildew and phylloxera could be added to the list of this already rather morose period.
In 1918, Alsace went from being the largest German wine-growing region to being the smallest French wine-growing region. Vineyards began to doubt and regress. So the vineyard surface area starting diminishing as of 1902 and continued until 1948, dropping to 9500 hectares of which 7500 with the Alsace appellation. The evolution of Alsace vineyards towards producing quality wines materialised with the recognition of AOC Alsace in 1962. To protect the specificities of the Vins d'Alsace and promote the affluence of their terroir, it was necessary to set a clearly-defined regulatory framework. This is the work undertaken for all the Designations of Origin (Appellations d'Origine) which are continuously reviewed and improved to produce authentic and quality wines.
After a busy day, there is nothing better than a relaxing aperitif with a genuinely uplifting drink».
And the fine acidity of a Crémant d’Alsace leaves the palate ready to enthusiastically start a meal
Its refreshing acidity matches perfectly with iodine-filled delicacies (shellfish, seafood, caviar …). This wonderful binding with any sea-related dishes can also match well with raw or grilled fish meat.
But its freshness doesn’t eclipse its incredible ability to be a great match for poultry and white meats.
Bloomy-rinded cheeses (Brie, Camembert), goat or sheep cheeses such as Ossau Irraty or even soft-rinded cheeses like Brillat Savarin enjoy mellifluous relations with a Crémant d’Alsace.
Especially since its fine bubbles abate the dense texture of these cheese in a perfectly-balanced contrast.
And to finish off on a sweet note, the semi-dry Crémants d’Alsace are an impeccable and subtle match for fruit-based desserts, cakes and Bredele (little biscuits).
I have a Vienna-streak in me as I adore the high-life, social functions and lively parties.
Am I considered as a drink made for emperors and czars? I play on that without ever disavowing my undeniable Alsace temperament. My delicate swaying, fragile and hypnotising bubbles evoke dreamy atmospheres, ideal for appreciating good moments with close friends.
To fairly describe me, both the pure and complex structures must be mentioned. I am crystal and precise. The elegance of my acidy structure, my vigorous and exquisite aromas along with my strong ties to the mineral world make me an unending adventure of depth and finesse.
This inimitable wine unfolds an array of resources: singular balance, remarkable zestiness and an exquisite finesse!
With a subtle palette of aromas, it makes for a great match with delicate white fish which requires elegant wine to requite its taste. Its fine acidity, combined with a dash of lemon zest, brings out the subtle flavours of shellfish while enhancing its salty quality. When fish and shellfish are cooked with a sauce or with cream, it brings a touch of lightness which refreshes the palette preparing it for the next mouthful.
Now leaving the fish world, Riesling also matches perfectly with poultry and white meats which don’t fare well with aggressive tannins. It’s a great partner for accompanying preparations in sauces such as with veal ragout or Coq … au Riesling.
When it comes to the cheeseboard, goat and sheep milk cheeses are ideal with these vivid and expressive wine. Its long and racy acidity reflects the sharp lactic acidity found in these cheeses.
Wine connoisseurs often describe me like a gently swinging song, taking life as it comes! I’m like a ripe fruit chilled by its subtle acidity.
I’m as supple as an acrobat who always lands on his feet, regardless the dishes offered up to me. In short, I’m perfectly charming and poised.
Playing on a perfect balance between restrained fruitiness and measured acidity, it has a mystifying ability to perfectly suit great everyday meals. An ideal partner for basically any occasion such as impromptu buffets, quick snacks or with slowly-simmered white meats, lightly-grilled fish or mixed salads.
It’s also quite a hit with eggs whether fried, in an omelette or with a quiche.
Its delicate and subtle nuances make it an ideal partner with young milky cheeses such as Tommes, Saint-Nectaire or Chaource.
I am often wrongly considered to be a sweet wine but this is not so: I am dry and am certainly the best for whetting your appetite.
For this I use the entire pallet of aromas and unparalleled flavours of my grape, the Muscat, providing its delicate and refreshing charm. My music is lively and impulsive.
Thanks to its dry character, the Muscat d’Alsace is perfect for whetting your appetite. The delicate and subtle fruit along with its natural intensity leave the palate intact for the aperitif allowing to smoothly glide into the next steps of the gastronomic spread.
It’s a discrete and jovial partner for grilled fish, whereas its natural aspect enhances light meals such as cooked or raw vegetables, steamed dishes or baby lettuce salads.
When spring comes it flirts unabashedly with the tricky-to-please asparagus! Asparagus have a hint of bitterness on the finish which tends to challenge most wines. But the Muscat d’Alsace calmly accepts the challenge thanks to its own suggestion of bitterness which is usually hidden by its exquisite and zesty fruit.
One word sums me up perfectly, generosity, like when ripe fruits are harvested during the autumn or fragrant undergrowth. My intensity also pairs wonderfully with autumn meals with its array of stew dishes.
My music is warm like the sound of a cello, both romantic and sensual. I have a noble, velvety texture sometimes with smooth and silky nuances.
The Pinot Gris d’Alsace has weight, roundness and a long finish, balanced out with a superb acidic structure allowing it to have its deserved recognition. This richness that makes it such a good match for foods with strong personalities which it enhances without tiring your tastebuds.
Like foie gras for example. To accompany this singular dish, you need white wine that is neither too light nor too acidic with weight, finesse but also enough intensity to enhance its flavour and inimitable texture.
With its richness of expression, Pinot Gris sports a natural audacity, able to be matched with dishes usually for red wines. It therefore is a perfect partner for white and red meats such as pork or veal roast, duct, game or even offal.
Its aromatic complexity and unctuous texture are superb with exotic cuisine or sweet and sour dishes like veal in vanilla cream or a tajine with prunes or apricots. These kinds of dishes play to Pinot Gris’ strengths, its capacity to match sweet flavours, such as honey or fruits, and enough structural acidity to provide a foil for the texture of the meats featured in these recipes.
With its hint of earthy and smoky undergrowth, Pinot Gris d’Alsace makes an admirable match for pan-fried girolle mushrooms, risotto with boletus mushrooms or truffled mashed potatoes.
The Comtés and Beauforts cheeses or in Switzerland the Appenzel and Gruyère require a wine equalling their opulence, especially if they are made from rich pasture summer milk and have been aged for several months. The vinosity of Pinot Gris, as well as its power and length of finish allow it to perform the honours with ease.
I am undoubtedly the most extroverted and most extravagant of Alsace wines. I alone personify travels to markets in the South or the Orient with their profusion of colours, rhythms, fragrances and exceptionally sumptuous tissues. I appeal to all your senses with my intensity, delicacy, vitality and complexity.
It allows your taste-buds to be fully awake and is ideal for an aperitif.
Its smooth and enticing character is like an invitation to exceptional sensorial experiences. So it’s only natural to associate this wine with dishes from around the world: it highlights and enhances the spicy flavours in Asian, Indian, Mexican or Moroccan dishes. There are several reasons for this aptitude. First off, most Asian dishes are made with sugar-based sauces like sweet-and-sour fish, pork with caramel or duck in orange sauce. The sweetness of these dishes requires a silky and generous wine. Furthermore most of these dishes are liberally endowed with very spicy aromatic herbs and spices which so beautifully characterise Thai cuisine (lemongrass, turmeric…), Indian (coriander, cumin, garam masala), Indonesian (coconut milk, turmeric, chilli) or Moroccan (cinnamon, cloves, hot peppers). Here Gewurztraminer reveals the extent of its intensity, its volume and its extraordinary finish. Far from fearing these powerful flavours, it welcomes them into a sensual, spontaneous and passionate swing!
On a totally different level, Gewurztraminer is superb with strong-tasting cheese-plate assortments. Munster, Maroilles, Pont-l’Évêque and Livarot have similar aromatic intensity which is perfectly matched by the fruitiness and weighty palate of this wine.
And finally it’s the long-awaited dessert time! Resembling a charming smile, it sports its unparalleled fruitiness to complement an apricot tart, chocolate with exotic fruit or a crème caramel. It’s also perfect with biscuits or cakes or any slightly-sweet desserts.