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Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

A little history

The Alsatian vineyard extends from Strasbourg to Mulhouse and is one of the largest producers of white wines in France. It covers more than 15,000 hectares.

The history of wine in Alsace is not a recent one. Vines have been cultivated in Alsace since the period of the Roman Empire. Viticulture continues and also progresses under the reign of the Merovingians and Carolingians who were great wine lovers. The story continues in the Middle Ages, a period during which Alsatian wines are the most expensive and especially the most famous in Europe. Nowadays the wines are still as famous as ever. It is also in Alsace, more precisely in Strasbourg, that the oldest wine in the world is hidden. It is a white wine from 1472 that is carefully preserved in the city. This cuvée is kept in a barrel in the cellar of the Strasbourg hospices and is practically part of Alsace's heritage. It is therefore no coincidence that there are very good and great wines in Alsace, with a wide range of aromas and flavours of exotic fruits, apricots and citrus fruits.

The particularity of the Alsatian vineyard is its cold and dry climate as well as its unique terroir which allows for example to harvest the grapes later than in other vineyards. This method brings freshness and vibrancy to the wine.

The appellations

Since 1984, Alsace wines have been classified as AOC wines. You can discover 4 types of appellation: Alsace Grand Cru, Crémant d'Alsace, AOC Alsace and finally, the Late Harvest and Sélection de Grains Nobles.

Alsace Grand Cru: only 4 grape varieties are authorised for the Grands Crus d'Alsace. Riesling, Muscat, Pinot gris and gewurztraminer.

Crémant d'Alsace: these are sparkling wines made from different grape varieties, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, or Riesling. They are made according to a traditional method as in Champagne.

A.O.C Alsace: when the wines of this appellation are made from a single grape variety, we can find the name of the grape variety on the bottle label. The label may also mention a place named after the name of the grape variety.

Late Harvest and Selection of Noble Grains: this appellation is a special mention for the A.O.C Alsace or Alsace Grand Cru wines which meet strict conditions. Harvesting must be done manually, sugar levels must be minimal, and wines made only from Muscat d'Alsace, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer varieties.

The different grape varieties

There are a total of 10 Alsatian grape varieties, including 1 red. There are mainly 7 main grape varieties for white wines: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat d'Alsace, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir.

Riesling: this is the king of Alsace's grape variety. This grape variety covers more than 21% of the Alsatian vineyard. It produces lively, elegant and fine white wines with floral nuances. It is considered one of the best white grape varieties in the world.

Pinot Gris: this grape variety is round, robust and has a good length on the palate. This grape variety has woody and sometimes smoky and floral aromas.

Pinot Blanc: freshness and suppleness are two words that define this grape variety. This grape variety makes it possible to produce balanced, tender and delicate wines.

Gewurztraminer: also very famous in Alsace, Gewurztraminer is a powerful and full-bodied grape variety. It has aromas of fruit and spices.

Muscat d'Alsace: much drier than the southern sweet muscats, Muscat d'lsace stands out from the others. It develops floral notes and perfectly expresses the flavour of the grape. It would almost feel like biting into a grape.

Sylvaner: dry and fruity, this grape variety makes it possible to produce wines that have a beautiful vivacity.

Pinot Noir: it is the only grape variety in Alsace that produces red wines. It develops fruity aromas that are reminiscent of cherries.

How to match Alsatian wines with different dishes?

We advise you to drink with your aperitif a Muscat d'Alsace or a Crémant to tickle your palate with bubbles. If the dish is made with meat, we recommend that you serve your meats with a Pinot Noir or Gris. If you have chosen to offer fish, a Riesling or Sylvaner from Alsace will be more suitable. To finish off your meal in style, late harvest wines or Gewurztraminer will go perfectly with your desserts.

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