One of France’s newest wine regions, the Alsace was granted AOC status only in 1962, due to its rich in geopolitical history. The region borders on Germany along the Rhine River, and changed hands between Germany and France several times over the past few centuries.
Because of this, the locals are proud to call themselves “Alsatians”, a mélange of German and French culture, staunchly unwavering no matter which side of the changing border they end up on over the years. And it shows on their winemaking too, taking possibly the best of viticultural and winemaking practices from both countries.
Alsace wines are commonly made (with exceptions of course) from four “noble” varieties, Pinot Gris, Güwerztraminer, Muscat and most famous of all, Riesling. About 10% are reds made almost entirely with Pinot Noir. And of course Crémant d’Alsace, the (much better value) traditional method sparkling made similarly to it’s more glamorous neighbour to the west. It’s also one of the very few regions in France which labels their wines with the varietals.
The terrior allows their wines to be delicate, mineral and crisp, which makes for both an excellent Crémant, and a lovely balanced “grains nobles” (sumptuously sweet made from shrivelled botrytised grapes) Güwerztraminer. Many of these have great potential for aging due to the acidity.
Bonus fact: These slender Alsatian “flutes” were used for centuries (even mandated by law), designed to fit most efficiently in crates on river barges which was the main mode for export. As it was relatively gentle cruise, it didn’t need the reinforced bottom or “punt” used on rougher journeys from Burgundy or Bordeaux. As it became more popular, the shape became synonymous with Riesling and the like, and was adopted around the world.