About AlsaceFrance and Germany, nestled between the Voges Mountains and the Rhine River. These landmarks give Alsace an ideal climate for the white grapes that have become the mainstays of the region. Pinot Noir is also grown, with plantings of the grape increasing with consumer demand for red wine.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Alsace underwent a territorial tug-of-war, bouncing from France to Germany and back to France again at the end of the first World War. While the French led the renaissance of fine wine production in the 20th century, Alsacians have integrated both French and German influences in their wine. Alsacian wines are mostly white, with Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer leading the plantings. Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Sylvaner are also popular varietals. The bottles are flute-shaped, like many German wines, and the type of grape is clearly placed on the wine's label – quite unlike the typical French practice of labeling wines by region.
Notable FactsAlsace wines have four noble varieties: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat. These are the only varietals allowed in the 50 Alsacian Grand Cru wines. Pinot Blanc, while not noble, is key in making many of the Cremant d'Alsace (sparkling wines) and is found in many Alsace AC blends. Most of the wines from the region are dry – with steely acidity and round fruit flavors, typically more full bodied (aka, more alcohol) than their German counterparts. There are also sweet wines and, of course, sparkling.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.