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The Alsace wine region

The history of Alsace has exercised a strong German influence on wine production and grape varieties. The famous Crémant d'Alsace, made according to the méthode champenoise, is not to be missed.

History

Alsace has always been a border and transit country for Europe. It has been settled or ruled by the Celts, the Romans, the Alemanni and the Franks. Not for nothing was the capital in the Merovingian period called Strateburg, "the city of roads". Strasbourg today is a centre of European cooperation. In the course of history Alsace belonged alternately to Germany and France. It was not until the end of the 17th century that it came under French rule, and that was when viticulture properly got started. Large volumes of basic German Rhine wine were produced during the period under German rule, from 1871 to 1919. The vineyards were mostly replanted after the Second World War. GeographyThis very picturesque region on the eastern and southern slopes of the Vosges and in the adjacent Rhine plain is 100 kilometres long and 1 to 5 kilometres wide. The most famous vineyards are located in the Haut-Rhin département.ClimateIn the Bas-Rhin département the Vosges are lower, providing less protection from rain – so the grapes do not ripen as quickly. There are various different microclimates.WinesPredominantly red wines of variable quality. Top wines – Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape – and an abundance of average wines from neighbouring communes in the southern Rhône.Grape varietiesIn the north: Syrah for red wines; Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne for whites. Many varieties are permitted in the south, the most important of which are Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah for red wines and Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache blanc for whites.

Vineyard area and production volume:

  • about 149,000 hectares, 7.7 million hectolitres per year.

Popular wines from Alsace