The Sensational Wines of Alsace

Written by on December 12, 2016 in Alsace, Wine and Drinks


Alsace in the north east of France has a dual personality. The Alsatian people are resolutely French – though they speak their language with a faint German accent. The beautiful, half-timbered houses that you frequently encounter look as if they were built for a set in a grand German opera or maybe a Walt Disney movie. The names of the villages and many of the people are German in origin. And, the food, whilst undeniably French, has something of a Teutonic feel about it, just think of choucroute (sauerkraut) and those hearty, meaty stews.

The Wines of Alsace

The wines too are without doubt French, but have more than a touch of German about them – noticeably the size and shape of bottle, the grape varieties used and the ubiquitous Germanic script on many of the labels. Stylistically though, they are very different from those we encounter in the Rhine or Mosel, being more weighty and concentrated.


So, what is so special about this enigmatic yet intriguing region?  If you stand at the top of one of the Grand Cru vineyards high up in the Vosges mountains, you begin to get a clue. The view across the Rhine Rift Valley into Germany is magnificent on a clear day, which in Alsace is often the case. The best vineyards nestle high up, facing the sun and protected from the westerlies by the Vosges. These mountains also create a rain shadow area, which is why Colmar is the driest town in France after Perpignan deep down near the Spanish border.

The special terroir of climate, slope and soil contrive to produce some of France’s most aromatic and full-bodied white wines of all – Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat are considered the finest grape varieties in Alsace and are the ones encountered in the Grands Crus – of which there are currently 51.


There are many very talented winemakers in Alsace. Ttake André Gruss for example, based in exquisite little Eguisheim, a picture postcard setting. Alsace has some of the most avant-garde, forward-thinking and experimental vignerons of any wine region in France and one of the most talented is the young André Gruss. He has inherited his affable, smiling demeanour from his parents – as well as their winemaking talents. The Gruss domaine is high-tech, pristine and immaculate. Not surprising then that the wines are sharply etched, pure and pristine with wonderful varietal flavours and have won many awards.

Find out more about the Alsace wine route:

Related Articles

The best boutique French wines in the USA

Nothing beats going to a French vineyard and enjoying a tasting, then taking home some delicious French wine to enjoy at leisure. But it’s not always possible to do that, especially if you’re in the US. Luckily for you, SomMailier wine club brings the very best boutique French wines direct to you. Delivered right to […]

Continue Reading

Where to eat out in Strasbourg

Where to eat out in Strasbourg

Written by on August 6, 2019 in Alsace

If you love food – you’ll love Strasbourg. The city in the north east of France in the Alsace department takes its food, wine, cakes and desserts seriously. There’s a huge choice of restaurants to choose from. In the main tourist areas, they’re touristy of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean bad, you’ll get gorgeous views […]

Continue Reading

Instagrammable Strasbourg France

Instagrammable Strasbourg France

Written by on July 9, 2019 in Alsace

Keen to take Instagram-worthy photos in Strasbourg to share with your friends and family? Here are my top 10 recommendations of instagrammable Strasbourg: Petite France Pretty much anywhere in the Petite France area is like a fairy tale town scene but Place Benjamin-Zix is particularly photogenic. The medieval district on an island is gorgeous. Notre […]

Continue Reading

Cité de l’Automobile | Mulhouse Car Museum

If you think going to a car museum sounds like it might not be fun – when it comes to Mulhouse, in Alsace, northeast France, you couldn’t be more wrong. You absolutely don’t need to be a petrol head to enjoy the Cité de automobile, it is extraordinary, extravagant and extremely fascinating. History of the […]

Continue Reading

Visit Ruinart Reims – the oldest Champagne House in the world

Mark Twain, the great American writer was spot on when he claimed: “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”. Ever since it was “discovered” in France in the 17th century, just about everyone has fallen under the spell of the effervescent wine. It can only be made in Champagne, […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.