If you are hankering for fine French wine and food, why not take a look at the Alsace region of northeastern France? While their wines are often somewhat expensive, you may find a bargain. I hope that you'll have enjoy yourself on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local white Riesling wine paired with several meals and with imported cheeses.
Alsace ranks tenth out of the eleven French winemaking regions in terms of its acreage devoted vineyards. But don't let the statistics mislead you; little Alsace is a major producer of quality French wine. Its wine growing area is barely 60 miles (100 kilometers) long, and at most 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide tucked between the Vosges Mountains to the west and the Rhine River and Germany to the east. But this relatively tiny area is famous for its distinctive wines. Their wine bottles are also distinctive; tall and thin with labels that feature the grape variety, not the usual practice in France. Chaptalization (adding sugar to the fermenting grape mixture) is allowed for many wine categories.
About 95% of Alsace wine is white. The major white grape varieties are Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris, and Riesling, reviewed below. Its secondary white grape varieties include Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, and Muscat. The major red grape variety is Pinot Noir, reviewed in a companion article in this series.
The beautiful Vosges mountains are located in eastern France near the Rhine River and Black Forest of western Germany. To a large extent they are composed of granite and red sandstone. Their highest point is the Grand Ballon (also called Ballon de Guebwiller) with an elevation of about 4600 feet (slightly more than 1424 meters). The vineyards of its eastern slopes have an elevation of up to 1300 feet (400 meters).
The right wine can enhance a dish to perfection. While there are no hard and fast rules on matching food and wine because it's ultimately a matter of personal taste, there are basic guidelines on what wine connoisseurs and food lovers consider make good choices. In this article, you'll learn about how to make wine choices that will complement the flavors of a meal.