Tuesday, November 13, 2007



Alsatian wines are often best drunk fairly young, and they do not always travel well. About 95 % of Alsatian wines are whites, "big whites," that is to say they stand up well to meat, sausage and game dishes as well as strongly seasoned fish and poultry.

Of the better known wines of Alsace—Tokay, Sylvaner, Riesling, Chasselas, Pinot Blanc, Edelzwicker, Gewurtztraminer—none is more argued about than Gewurztraminer. Some wags say that it’s not ordered much in the U.S. because it is so hard to pronounce (Geh-Vuhrtz-TRAH-MEEN- ah), but the problem may be because it tends to be rather too grapey-sweetish when it is exported. Wine authority Alexis Lichine refers to it as "A delicious fruity wine when good, it is an excellent accompaniment to strong-tasting spicy dishes...including meat and local cheeses." I tried several glasses of locally produced Gewurtztraminer, and found it to be good.

There are three Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées in the region (AOCs, i.e. a certification that the product is made in a certain region and meets strict production criteria) — AOC Alsace, AOC Alsace Grand Cru and AOC Crémant d’Alsace (‘crémant’ being a sparkling wine). The wines of Alsace are ideal when enjoyed with food, as they complement perfectly a wide variety of dishes. However, Alsace wines can also be enjoyed for themselves, as an aperitif for instance, and the remarkable range of flavours as well as the bouquet that they have to offer will come as a pleasant surprise to consumers who may — for some of them at any rate — be used to blander and mass-produced types of white wine

Benoit France


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