Alsace is a region in the east of France, bordering Germany to the east and north and Switzerland to the south. As you might expect, Alsace wine is heavily influenced by German wine styles and its production is almost entirely white. Alsace wines are also unusual in France insofar as the Appellation is defined mostly by varietal classification. The grapes used also tend to be the same as those grown in Germany and Austria. The region is famous for its Riesling wines, which often are unfairly dismissed as being overly sweet. Alsace dry Rieslings, however, are a far more sophisticated proposition.
Understanding Alsace wine
There is no doubt that cheap, inferior and overly sweet Rieslings have dented the reputation of Alsace wines. There are, however, real treats to be found for the wine lover who knows where to look. The tall slender bottles may be distinctive and they are part of the AOC rules for Alsace wine, but identifying good Alsace wine requires a little more effort. The region had three AOCs, namely; Alsace AOC, Alsace Grand Cru AOC for the better vineyards, and Cremant d'Alsace AOC for the region's sparkling wines.
The style of Alsace wines
Alsace wine tends to be made from aromatic grapes like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, which in turn produces spicy, aromatic and floral scented wines. The more traditional Alsace wines are dry but some modern growers have attempted to make more intense and fruity wines and the result is wine with a little more sweetness. The Alsace AOC has no official designation for the level of sweetness in the wine and this is where some consumers may become confused, buying a wine that is far too sweet for their palette. This is a shame because the region has so much good wine to offer but it is also a good reason to invest in a reputable wine guide like that from Gilbert & Gaillard.
Reviewing Alsace wines
The Gilbert & Gaillard wine guide uses a helpful 100 point scale to rank the wines it reviews. This makes it a simple matter to compare the relative quality of wines from different growers or regions. The guide's tasting notes add a useful description of the character of the wine, which prevents readers falling into the trap of mistakenly buying wine that is not to their taste. Using the guide, wine lovers can try out Alsace wines with confidence.