The Alsace Region
The region - ALSACE - between the Vosges and the Rhine
Alsace is one of the smaller French wine-producing regions, however it has a long and distinguished history of wine-making from Roman times, from about 12 B.C., and today produces some of the finest white wines in the world.
Alsace is the home of Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer grapes, it lies in the north-east corner of France and is situated between the Vosges mountains to the west and is hard against the German border, the Rhine and the Black Forest to the east. The region is approximately 50 km wide and 190 km long, running along the border between France and Germany, and is thus sheltered from both easterly winds in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. The soil in this area is very diverse including sand, granite, clay and marl and the combination of the climatic and soil conditions means that this is not the easiest of areas in which to grow grapes.
The area accounts for about 20 per cent of France's annual production of wine (approximately 165 million bottles) and the vast majority of the grapes grown are used in the production of a number of world-famous white wines whose names echo their German origins. The most well known of these are Riesling and Gewürztraminer, which together account for about 40 percent of Alsace wines, but other wines include Tokay and Sylvaner.
ALSACE – AROMATIC WINES UNLIMITED
Welcome to the Alsace, the home of world famous aromatic wines: the five "noble" grapes of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris (sometimes called Tokay d'Alsace) , Sylvaner, and Muscat. Add undulating hills, pretty villages with narrow streets of flower-decked, half-timbered houses clustered around their church steeple, and vineyards and caves with wines to satisfy all who enjoy fine white wines, and you have the Alsace wine region.
What makes this a great area for wine and food lovers? The food of the Alsace is heavily influenced by Germany and German culture. Expect dishes with German-sounding names which are so different to those found in other parts of France. Lovers of food are going to be delighted by the range of pork products that cram every charcuterie. <br
One of the pleasures for the wine tourist is that the manageable size and the layout of the Alsace wine region makes it an ideal location for a car tour.
Vineyards – enjoy the fruit-driven aromas of the aromatic Alsace wines, the unique tastes of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir.
The Alsace Wine Road – the Route des Vins, a 120-kilometre itinerary that starts north of Strasbourg in Marlenheim and ends at Thann outside Mulhouse.
Wine Villages – a lasting impression of Alsace was the wine villages. Pretty and looking like time had stood still. Gueberschwihr, Riquewihr (dubbed the “pearl of the vineyards”, Barr.
Fortified Villages – In a region ravaged by wars and conflicts, fortified villages were a must. Visit Eguisheim, Fenetrange, Boersch.
Architecture – timber-framed houses in all colours of plaster from pink and terracotta through orange and even shades of green and blue.
Alsatian Culture – a frontier region, the people are fiercely proud of their identity and history.
Joan of Arc – was born and grew up in Bois-Chenu in Lorraine.
Strasbourg – the principal city of the region is the home of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. It lies on the banks of the Rhine and is often mistakenly thought to be a German city.
Unique Foods and Cuisine – the food is very German in ingredients, taste and presentation. Expect a dining experience that is so different to that found in other parts of France</br
The delicate aromas of wild flowers and lavender, the taste of tropical fruits, melons, gooseberries and honey – these are just some of the sensations of the aromatic wines of the Alsace which will remain with you long after the last drop is drunk!