Alsace is a small region in France bordering Germany, and it primarily makes white wine. Being close to Germany, it has huge Germanic influence in their wine Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée regulations. Alsace Appellation Control is the only Appellation Control in France that produces mostly single grape varietal (varietally labelled) wines.
The most common grape varieties in Alsace are Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Alsace Pinot Noir has been more popular recently; some argue the reason for its popularity is due to the lack of red wines in Alsace.
What’s the deal of Alsace wine?
Majority of Alsace wines are aromatic. Their wines are fruity (with lots of peachy notes) and floral on the nose, powerful acidity to pair with meals, with the exception of Gewürztraminer, which has low acidity.
Alsace has a cool continental climate. It is a rain shadow and is very dry due to the Vosges Mountains, this allows grapes to grow undisturbed by rain or hail. The extreme coolness causes long ripening season, hence aromatic and flavourful grapes. There are a few factors that affect the vineyard climate, the aspect, soils, rivers, mountains, and lakes. The best vineyards in Alsace are South, South-East facing on slope to maximise the sunlight exposure. Stony soils are used in some of the premium sites to reflect sunlight and absorb heat during daytime and release heat in the evening.
There are 51 Grand Cru lands (lieux-dits) in Alsace, and they benefit from a microclimate. The yield of these Grand Cru sites has to be less than 55 hectolitre per hectare, and the grapes has to come from a single named vineyard.