The Riesling grape with all its versatility is the main grape variety, and whilst many countries make Riesling, none can match the mouth-watering freshness and supreme delicacy achieved in a Mosel Kabinett from a top producer. Germany dry Rieslings as a rule tend to to be very graceful and elegant as compared to Rieslings from other countries, with an emphasis on finesse, not power. Standout producers such as Robert Weil make the headlines, but Donnhoff, JL Wolf, A Christmann and Dr Loosen are too worth seeking out.
Another most interesting contribution from Germany was Eiswine (ice wine), which until the 1970s was a freak of nature, though is now carefully managed. To produce Eiswine, parcels of vines are left out exposed to the frost, and although the production cost is astronomical they remain very popular. Robust Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris are also produced in the whites and Pinot Noir, referred to as Spätburgunder is also grown.
The climate in Germany is, for the most part, cool, the exception being in the Pfalz and in Baden. As a result, vineyards are carefully selected with good sunlight exposure a must. For example along the banks of the Mosel River, vines are only planted one side, as there isn't enough sunlight exposure to ripen grapes on the north-facing side.
Key regions include Mosel and Nahe where extraordinary Rieslings are produced.
The Alsace wine region is in the north-east of France and borders Germany. Although the region only accounts for 2% of France's vineyards it is responsible for producing some of the worlds finest white wines. Perhaps because of its Germanic influence, it is the only Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée region in France to produce mostly varietally labelled wines. In other words it is the only region in France where you're likely to see Pinot Gris, or Riesling denoted on the wine label. Another interesting note is that the region is the birthplace of biodynamic viticulture and the region still has the country's highest proportion of biodynamic producers.
Alsace gets plenty of sunshine hours, with a deep continental climate and superb meso-climate created by the sheltering presence of the Vosges Mountains. This allows the full spectrum of aromatic flavours to show in the grapes. The soils are quite diverse, with 13 different soil types in all.
The noble grapes of Alsace are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Muscat Ottonel and Muscat d'Alsace in the whites, and Pinot Noir in the reds. Recent decades have seen an increase in Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir plantings, while the classical Sylvaner grape is on the decline.
Wines are produced under three different appelations or AOCs:
- - Alsace AOC: must be made from one of the 8 permitted grape varieties in the appellation (white, rosé and red wines)
- - Alsace Grand Cru: Introduced in 1983, currently recognising 50 Grand Cru sites. It is the pinnacle of Alsace, where topography, aspect and soil type must be in harmony along with a track record of producing excellent wines.
- - Crémant d'Alsace: Appelation for sparkling wines, that can be both dry or sweet.
High quality liquers and spirits are also made in Alsace by producers such as Bertrand and Vedrenne.
**THIS ONLINE TASTING IS OVER**
This pack contains a bottle of 3 different wines to be opened during an online tasting held on Thursday the 22nd of October 2020. This event is all about the perfect summer ... Learn More