It is argued that the best red wines in France come from Bordeaux. But where can you find the best white wines in France?
Although there are plenty of regions that produce great white wines, most French wine connoisseurs will point the way to Alsace.
Located in the eastern part of France, Alsace has produced white wines since the end of the first millennium. Talk about experience!
The only interruption of wine making in Alsace happened because of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618 which devastated the region.
But the Wine Gods would not leave Alsace in such misery!
Fortunately for wine lovers, local winemakers revived the production of high quality wines at the end of World War I using exclusively Alsatian grapes. The results have been amazing!
Today you can find wines from Alsace all over the world. The tall and slim Alsatian flute bottle makes it easy to identify wines from this region in shops.
Now, before I explain each of the seven grape varieties, you should know that Alsatian wines are consumed young since they don’t require a lot of fermentation time in barrels to reveal their splendid character. Typically, the aging process goes from six months to five years.
Without further ado, here are descriptions of the seven grape varieties along with food pairing suggestions.
Sylvaner – This is a very refreshing, light bodied wine with a sweet delicate touch. It is great to enjoy with seafood and cold cuts.
Pinot Blanc – This is an all-purpose wine with a very smooth taste. This is one of the most representative wines in Alsace and you can’t go wrong pairing it with fish and other traditional seafood plates.
Riesling – This is the most celebrated of all the white wines in Alsace. It’s dry but refined and delicately fruity with an elegant bouquet. The excellence of this wine is unbeatable when pairing it with most seafood dishes and, of course, with choucroute, the traditional Alsatian dish.
Muscat D’ Alsace – Don’t think this is your typical sweet Muscat! This one is dry, but very aromatic and delightfully grapey. Its goes perfect with appetizers, vegetarian dishes, asparagus, and pastas.
Pinot Gris – This is a rich, full bodied wine with a lingering finish. It exhibits aromas that are slightly woody as well as smoky. If you are having foie gras or poultry dishes, look no further, this is the perfect wine.
Pinot Noir – In Alsace, the Pinot Noir grape not only produces an outstanding red wine, but also a fruity rosé with hints of cherries. It pairs great with game, red meat & barbecues, as well as with strong goat cheeses or gruyere.
Gewurztraminer – You can call this an all-terrain wine. Its character is full- bodied with exotic fruity aromas. Contrary to other Gewurztraminers, the Alsatian counterpart tends to be a bit on the dry side. It is a very flexible wine when it comes to pairings and goes well with appetizers, exotic international dishes, strong cheeses and desserts.
Alsace also produces a high quality sparkling wine similar to champagne. The Cremant D’ Alsace is a terrific option to celebrate those special moments in life. You can find it white and rosé. Try them both!