Column: Gourmet Alsace wines – Richmond News
Alsace wines are among the most underrated wines in the world. It was only recently that I rediscovered these wines and wondered why they are not more popular. Alsace wines are very gourmet, varied, complicated and extremely affordable.
Alsace is a region in northeastern France near the border with Germany. Due to conflicts throughout history, Alsace has oscillated between belonging to France and to Germany. The resulting fusion of different cultures makes the food and wine of this region varied and interesting. Their cuisine and wines showcase the best of German and French gastronomy.
Alsace produces white, red and sparkling wines. Unlike most Riesling and Gewurztraminers from British Columbia and Germany, most Alsatian white wines are dry. They are also rarely fermented in oak barrels, and if they are, it is in very old and large vats that give off very little woody aromas. As such, Alsace wines represent the purest form of the various grape varieties.
Although only 10 percent of Alsace wines are red wines, the quality of Alsace red wines improves considerably. Alsace red wines are made from the Pinot Noir grape, which is also the grape used to produce Burgundy wines. Burgundy wines have become so expensive that wine consumers have been forced to find more affordable alternatives. Alsace Pinot Noir wines are not expensive, but the quality continues to improve. A common perception of Alsace red wines was that the ripening of the grapes was inconstant. However, with global warming, the Alsatian climate is changing from a cooler climate to an always warmer but mild climate, perfect for the cultivation of Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is not the predominant grape in Alsace and as such has normally been cultivated in fewer regions. But with the increased demand for these wines, you’ll see more and more wineries taking more interest in growing these grapes on better soil.
Alsace offers an affordable alternative to Champagne called CrÃ©mant d’Alsace. CrÃ©mant d’Alsace uses the same production method as Champagne and often the same grape varieties. CrÃ©mant d’Alsace may not have the same longevity as Champagne, but you can buy them at around half the price of Champagne. CrÃ©mant d’Alsace is less fruity than Champagne and contains more yeast, almond and mushroom elements.
But Alsace is best known for its white wines. What surprises me the most about Alsace white wines is their complexity and weight. Compared to the same grape varieties in other countries, I find that Alsace wines generally have more body and a slight smoothness. It is very beneficial in association with food. It is this weight or body that allows Alsace wines to stand up to fish and white meat dishes. Alsace wines are fruity but not sweet. This fruitiness helps Alsace white wines to blend with Asian cuisine, including spicy dishes.
Another thing I like about Alsace wines is their affordability. It is not uncommon to find a high-end Alsace wine or a Grand Cru Alsace wine for less than $ 40. I can’t think of another wine region where you can drink very high end wines in this price range.
Although liquor stores in British Columbia do not have a large selection of Alsace wines, you can sometimes find more diverse offerings at private liquor stores. One of the best examples of Alsatian Riesling is the 2018 Alsatian Riesling Trimbach, priced at $ 34.99. It will change your opinion of Riesling. You can see my review of this wine on my YouTube channel.
Until next time, good drink!
Tony kwan is the new Richmond News columnist. Lawyer by day, lover of food and wine by night, Kwan is an epicurean who writes about wine, food and enjoys all that life has to offer.