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

Things to do in Winter in Alsace

Things to do in Winter in Alsace

Written by on December 10, 2019 in Alsace

Alsace is the quintessential winter destination with its fairy tale like villages, especially with a dusting of snow. Museums are less crowded, menus reflect the season with robust and tasty dishes and there’s not much that beats enjoying a glass of wine in a cosy café. We look at some of the best things to […]

Continue Reading

Vin Chaud recipe from France

Vin Chaud recipe from France

Written by on December 6, 2019 in Wine and Drinks

The most sensational, lush, delectable French mulled wine, deep ruby red, spicy and deliciously warming, this recipe outranks all others… This vin chaud recipe takes a somewhat different approach to flavouring the wine compared to other recipes. Instead of simmering the wine with the mulling spices, leave it to steep for three days along with […]

Continue Reading

Perfect guide to wine pairing at Christmas

In France, Christmas meals lasting anything up to 6 hours are de rigeur. But, with more than 200 wine varieties to choose from – how do you know which are the best wines to drink at Christmas? We asked Laurent Yung of the renowned French wine club, SomMailier for some tips! How the French drink […]

Continue Reading

The Wine Lover’s Guide to Bordeaux, France

A visit to Bordeaux’s stunning vineyards and fairytale chateaux must feature on any wine lover’s bucket list. But with so many superb quality producers and cultural treasures to choose from, how on earth do you put together the perfect Bordeaux itinerary? We asked Laurent Yung, founder of SomMailier wine club in the US. He’s a […]

Continue Reading

Wines of the Rhône Valley

Wines of the Rhône Valley

Written by on October 31, 2019 in Wine and Drinks

If someone asked, “What are the wines of Popes and Presidents?” what would you say? You might guess Bordeaux or Burgundy or maybe even Champagne. But the right answer is the wines of the Rhône Valley. The mighty Rhône River bursts forth from Lake Geneva in Switzerland and flows 500 miles south to the Mediterranean […]

Continue Reading


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

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.