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Alsace Wine Region


Alsace is one of the most famous wine regions in France. Situated between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine plain, the vineyard covers almost the entire length of the region. Alsace mainly produces white wines, but also produces sparkling wines, some rosés and reds.

One of the particularities of Alsace is that, unlike other French vineyards, the wines are named after their grape varieties instead of being named after the terroir. Alsace wines are presented in the typical bottle of the region, the flute, a long and narrow bottle.

The climate in Alsace is very particular. The region has a natural barrier, the Vosges mountains, which protects the vineyard. The climate is continental and dry with hot springs, dry and sunny summers, and cold winters. In Autumn, days are hot and nights are cool, these conditions being favourable to a slow and prolonged ripening of the grapes. This will develop complex aromas and keep a certain acidity, which results in the typical freshness of Alsatian wines.


The seven Alsatian varietal wines are:

  • Sylvaner: fruity and light
  • Pinot Blanc: tender and delicate
  • Riesling: elegant and fresh
  • Muscat d’Alsace: crunchy and aromatic
  • Pinot Gris: structured and generous
  • Gewurztraminer: powerful and exuberant
  • Pinot noir: the only red variety amongst the seven.

Those seven grape varieties are called the noble varieties of Alsace.

Did you know?

While Riesling and Muscat are often made in a dry style, and Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer in an off-dry style (slightly sweet), this is not an absolute rule. There are two exceptions that you should know of.

Vendanges Tardives, which means Late Harvest, are wines that can be produced from four of the seven grape varieties mentioned above. The grapes will be harvested late and may have some honeyed characteristics due to botrytis (also known as the Noble Rot). These wines are in general sweet or, if the winemaker chooses to ferment the sugar completely, high in alcohol and full-bodied.

Sélection de Grains Nobles is a stricter selection of late harvest. To make those wines, the grapes are hand-picked in order to only keep grapes that have been affected by Botrytis. Selection de Grains Nobles wines always have honeyed character and are always sweet. They are similar to sauternes wines from Bordeaux or Tokaji wines from Hungary.

Selection de Grains Nobles wines always have honeyed character and are always sweet. They are similar to sauternes wines from Bordeaux or Tokaji wines from Hungary.