Definition - What does Alsace mean?

Alsace is a viticultural region in northeastern France, near the border with Germany. Alsace wines are protected by the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée), meaning that only wine grown in Alsace can be labeled as such.

Wines from Alsace, which tend to be varietal-labeled rather than named after the region in which they are made, bear many similarities to wines from neighboring Germany. Alsace wine is also notable for the unique shape of the bottle commonly used in the region.

WineFrog explains Alsace

Alsace has a long, rich history of viticulture, and to this day, it's known for producing some of the world's finest wines. Historically, the nationality and culture of Alsace have shifted numerous times between France and Germany, resulting in modern wines that are heavily influenced by the German winemaking tradition.

Although related to German wines, winemaking in Alsace diverged from that in Germany during the second half of the twentieth century. Unlike many German wines, wines from Alsace are meant to accompany complementary food pairings; Riesling, in particular, has a balance of sugar content and acidity that renders it decidedly versatile. Although it is most often paired with pork or white fish, its flavor is often considered uniquely suitable as an accompaniment to spicy, pungent East and Southeast Asian cuisines.

Nearly all Alsace wines are white wines, notably including rieslings, however, some Alsace wines are made from the Pinot noir grape, which yields pale rosé wines. Alsace wines rarely have imparted flavors and characteristics from oak barrels, instead, these wines tend to have spicy and more floral flavors and are made from aromatic grapes. Alsace wines are to be fully fermented, decidedly dry and are generally paired with food.

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