Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Maybe it’s the higher angle of the sun, the tips of the daffodil and tulip shoots slowly peeking out of the thawing earth, or simply the relief that comes from knowing that the back of another winter has been broken, but every year around this time I find myself transitioning from the fortifying hearty and bold wines I often find in my “winter-months wine glass” to wines that metaphorically and physically usher me into spring. Often that means I’m sipping wines from Alsace, one of my favorite French wine regions.
This relatively compact wine region in northeastern France is bordered by the Vosges Mountains to the west and the Rhine river and Germany to the east. Historically, this bucolic corner of Europe with its quaint half-beam architecture has seen its fair share of violent conflict, switching hands between the French and Germans several times over the last couple of centuries. While the region shares cultural traits of both countries, the wines are decidedly French in style and personality. The Vosges Mountains act as a buffer to storms that sweep inland from the North Atlantic, keeping the region sunny throughout most of the growing season. Geologically, tectonic upheaval over eons has resulted in a patchwork quilt of soil types suitable for multiple grape varieties. Here, white wines excel with the four noble grape varieties of riesling, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and muscat leading the pack. For red wine lovers, a delicate style of pinot noir is produced as well. Stylistically, the white wines range from dry to off-dry to quite sweet with rich stone fruit, ripe citrus and exotic tropical flavors coupled with abundant, often perfumey aromas. Acidity levels range from zippy to somewhat diminished. All of this adds up to versatile wines that offer multiple pairing options.
If you are in need of a little spring or summer in your glass, I’ve listed a few of my favorite producers below.
Feel free to reach out to Mariano firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can source some of these wines just for you!