Friday, January 30, 2015

France Unit 1 - Alsace

The Wines of Alsace from guildsomm on Vimeo.

Check out the above video on the Wines of Alsace created and provided by the Guild of Sommeliers.

The following are my notes for studying the wines of the Alsace region of France including information about the history, topography, climate, soils, important red and white grapes and the AOCs of the region. I also include notes on the wines tasted during in the French Wine Scholar class (FWS - 01 Alsace).
History of Alsace: From the Romans to the Germans and the French

One the most interesting things about studying wine is that there is a lot more to it than vineyards, grapes and the production of an alcoholic beverage. To truly understand a quality wine you must learn about the geography and climate as well as the political, philosophical and religious history that created the wine-culture from which it is derived. The grapes of the Old World (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece etc.) did not just magically plant themselves in the ideal soils in neatly arranged rows. The wine-culture of France is a reflection of a people who sanctified the cultivation of the vine with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. The region of Alsace is a prime example of this reality.
Alsace has one of the most unique wine-cultures in France which is a reflection of its war-torn history that has resulted in a hybrid of French and German culture as the land has changed occupation multiple times.
The Romans (2 A.D. – 5th Century)
Wild vines grew in the forests of the Rhine River Valley before the region was settled by man. Domestication of the vine began with the arrival of the Romans and there are records of wines being sold from the region as early as 2 A.D. This lasted until the 5th century when Germanic tribes invaded the region at which time civilized agriculture was disrupted.[1]
The Church and Viniculture
After the fall of the Roman Empire (410 A.D.) the Christian Church became the dominant influence for the advancement of viticulture and by the end of the 9th century there were over 160 wine producing villages in Alsace. This is why Hugh Johnson said that we owe to the Church “…the whole of the long wine-making tradition which is continuous from the Roman to the twentieth century.”[2]
The Middle Ages, the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War
During the Middle Ages (5th - 15th Century) Alsace was a province of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. France developed into a centralized national state in the 15th and 16th centuries which then brought them into direct conflict with the Spanish Hapsburg house, a branch of Europe’s most powerful dynasty. This resulted in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) which was initially a conflict between Protestant and Catholic states. Then the war fragmented the Holy Roman Empire and developed into a general conflict between the great political powers of Europe, less about religion, and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence. In 1639, the French seized a majority of the region of Alsace to prevent it from coming under the dominion of Spanish Hapsburgs. In 1648, The Treaty of Westphalia concluded the war and solidified France’s ownership of Alsace.
Following the Thirty Years’ War the region suffered a plague that, in combination with the consequences of the war, left a weakened population and economy. King Louis the XIV then gave land grants to those who would settle the region and re-build it for France.
Then in 1789 came the French Revolution which disenfranchised the Church of all its vineyard holdings. The revolution caused a lot of turmoil which continued through the Napoleonic Wars during which there was a struggle between France and Germany over Alsace.
The Phylloxera Epidemic, the Franco-Prussian War, WWI and WWII
In the late 19th century Phylloxera was introduced to Europe when avid botanists in Victorian England collected specimens of American vines in the 1850s. Phylloxera are tiny pale yellow sap-sucking insects which feed on the roots and leaves of grapevines. The result is a deformation on roots (“nodosities” and “tuberosities”) and secondary fungal infections that can girdle roots and cut off the flow of nutrients and water to the vine. Because phylloxera is native to North America, the native grape species there are at least partially resistant. By contrast, the European wine grape Vitis Vinifera is very susceptible to the insect. The phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards for wine grapes in Europe, most notably in France.
Then came the Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871) at the end of which Germany claimed the territory with Lorraine.[3]  During this period the region was planted with high-yielding, low quality vines that were a cross between European Vitis Vinfera and American vines.[4] This was most likely done as an attempt to end the Phylloxera plague but it didn’t work. Only later was it discovered that Vitis Vinifera needed to be grafted on to American rootstock, but not made into a hybrid vine.
The next major conflict was World War I (1914 - 1918) which ended with the abdication of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm (November 28, 1918). This resulted in a brief period of independence for Alsace-Lorraine but French troops soon moved on the region and re-incorporated it into France. 
Then came World War II (1939 - 1945) during which Alsace and all of France was occupied by Nazi Germany in the early 1940s. During this time everything French in Alsace was outlawed and even the names of streets were changed as “Hugel et Fils” became “Hugel und Söhne”. Germany continued making wine, under very poor conditions, and they had only one customer – Germany.[5]  However, on the upside, in 1942 The Third Reich sent the Hitler Youth into the vineyards of Alsace and they removed 75% of the hybrid vines and the French had to replant with better varieties.[6] Yet through all this time Alsace remained French as Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson insist that, “Alsace has never been German, except in periods of occupation. Its language and market may be, but its soul is entirely French. Alsace makes German wine but in a French way.”[7]
The year 1945 marked the end German occupation of France at which time the French reasserted viticulture in Alsace. The year 1945 was also when French and German winemakers began making wine in styles. The German wines remained sweet but Alsace producers began fermenting their wines to dryness.
Alsace Receives AOC Status
In 1962 Alsace experienced one its most important events in the history when it became the last major French winemaking region to achieve AOC/AOP status becoming Vin d’Alsace AOP.
Geography of Alsace
Alsace is in the northeastern corner of France along the 47-49 parallel only 275 miles from Paris in the heart of Europe sharing borders with Germany and Switzerland. It is a narrow strip of land 75 miles long (about twice the length of the Napa Valley) and on average it is about 3 miles wide. The vineyard zone consists only of 53,000 acres of the 2,046,032 square acres in Alsace.
There are two possible markers that one might use to identify the boundaries of between France and Germany – the Rhine (political boundary) which divides Alsace from Baden in Germany and the Vosges Mountains (climatic boundary) which runs parallel 15 miles of the river.[8] The mountains provide a “rain shadow” effect making Alsace one of the driest and sunniest climates in France. On the west side of the Vosges Mountains is Louraine which is home of great quiche but mediocre wine.
Alsace is France’s smallest region and it is divided into two départements - the Haut-Rhin and Bas- Rhin. Over 2/3 of Alsace’s Grand Cru vineyards are located in the Haut-Rhin. Colmar, capital of the Haut-Rhin département, is the driest city in France.
The vineyards of Alsace are planted on a narrow strand along the lower slopes and foothills of the Vosges Mountains. Vineyard aspect is the orientation of a slope (North, South etc.) and location of each vineyard is of importance in this semi-continental climate. The best vineyards of Alsace enjoy southern, southeastern, aspects or warm eastern exposures to maximize the use of available sunlight. However, despite its northerly location, Alsatian vines typically ripen with greater regularity than many other regions of France due to the number of sunlight hours they receive in the summer.
Varietally Labeled Wines
Unlike most regions of France which label wines according to the region, the Alsace AOP ( Vin d’Alsace AOP) allows Pinot Blanc (Klevner), Chasselas (Gutedel), Sylvaner, and Pinot Noir to identify the wine by stating the variety on the label.[10]  With the exception of Pinot Blanc, all varietally labeled Alsace AOP wines must contain 100% of the printed grape.[11] Even if bottled as a single variety, Auxerrois Gris may be accorded the title of “Pinot Blanc” on the label. White wines labeled “Pinot” may contain any proportion of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Auxerrois Gris.[12]
Red and Rosé Wines
Pinot Noir is the only red variety permitted for Alsace AOP/AOC wines. It tends to produce light red and rosé wines except in warmer vintages. Although Pinot Blanc is the dominate grape for sparkling wines Pinot Noir may contribute to the Crémant d’Alsace AOP blend.[13]
Alsace has a Continental climate. The Vosges Mountains creates a rain shadow affect making it the driest region in France. Spring is mild but is often accompanied by frost. The summer is warm, dry and sunny. Autumn is marked by humidity with potential for mold and boytris and the Winter is cold.
Topography, Geology and Soils of Alsace
Alsace is located in the Rhine Graben (also known as the Upper Rhine Plain or Rhine Rift Valley). It forms part of the European Cenozoic Rift System, which extends across central Europe from the Mediterranean to the North Sea. According to some geologists’ theory, the Upper Rhine Graben formed during the Oligocene (a geologic epoch of the Paleogene period that theoretically extends from about 33.9 million to 23 million years before the present age) as a response to the evolution of the Alps to the south and it remains active to the present day. Today, the Rhine Rift Valley forms a down faulted trough through which the River Rhine flows.[14] As a the result of the rift system, the movement of the earth as well as the eventual erosion is that Alsace has very complex soils the best of which are found on the slopes of the Vosges foothills. At the base of the slopes are rich and fertile soils that can also produce quality grapes if it consists of high-caliber slope wash. There are 13 different major soil types in Alsace including volcanic elements, granite, gneiss, schist, sandstone, limestone, marl, sand, loess and loam either alone or in combination. Different grapes perform better in different soil types and over the years vignerons, through trial and error, have learned to determine the best pairings for soils and grape vines.[15]
There are 3 Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC)s in Alsace which are as follows:
Alsace AOC / AOP
Established in 1962. Grapes can come from any vineyard in Alsace. They wine can be white, red or rose, dry or sweet, blend of single varietal and my put special cuvee designation. The wines of Alsace AOC, in which the grape variety typically appears on the label, are comprised of 100% of that varietal. If the grape variety is not indicated, the wine is usually a blend may bear a brand name or labeled as “Edelzwicker” or “Gentil”. Geographical information such as the vineyard site or commune  may also be indicated on the label. By law, Alsace AOC wines (with the exception of Crémant d’Alsace) are always sold in a “Wine of the Rhine” shaped bottle known as the “Flute”. Since 1972, these wines must be bottled in their region of production. The wines of Alsace AOC are subject to a preliminary certification tasting under the control of INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origines). Alsace AOC represents 74% of the region’s wine production, of which 92% are white wines.

There are also 13 Communes, which are sub-categories and not separate AOCs, which are designated as Alsace Communal AOCs which are as follows: Bergheim, Blienschwiller, Coteaux du Haut Koenigsbourg, Côte de Rouffach, Côte de Barr, Klevener de Heiligenstein, Ottrott, Rodern, Scherwiller, St. Hippolyte, Vallée Noble, Val St. Grégoire, Wolxheim.

There are also land and vineyard sub-categories designated Alsace Lieu-Dit AOCs because they express a special terroir. These designated lands have more stringent viticulture production standards than other communes.
Alsace Grand Cru AOC/AOP
It was established in 1975, but the first 25 Grand Cru vineyards were not planted until 1983 and designated as such in 1985. In 2006 the 51st Kaefferkopf Grand Cru was added. Grand Cru AOP wines are single varietal wines from the noble Alsatian grapes, with several notable exceptions: The Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru and Kaefferkopf Grand Cru may blend according to certain prescribed proportions. In addition, Zotzenberg is a historical site for Sylvaner, and as such the grape is permitted in Grand Cru AOP varietal wines from the vineyard. Hand-harvesting is mandatory for all Grand Cru wines.  Minimum sugar levels at harvest are higher than those for Alsace AOP, and yields are more restricted.  The minimum alcohol required is 11% for Riesling and Muscat and 12.5% for Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, although certain vineyards mandate higher amounts. The grand crus range in size from 3 (Kanzlerberg) to 80 hectares (Schlossberg), resulting in a rather wide spectrum of quality. The rapid development of the Alsatian Grand Cru system with the lack of an intermediary Premier Cru level provoked some controversy. Consequently some producers choose not to utilize Grand Cru labeling as the politics of vineyard selection may have outweighed the specificity of site. For example, Trimbach has traditionally released their Riesling Clos-Ste-Hune as Alsace AOP without any mention of the large Rosacker Grand Cru on the label. The house of Hugel likewise chooses not to promote admissible wines as Alsace Grand Cru AOP. The Grands Crus of Alsace represent an average annual production of nearly 45,000 hL (or 500,000 cases), just 4% of the total Alsace wine production.
Cremant d’Alsace AOC
Established on August 24, 1976. Crémant d’Alsace is the only appellation in the region to allow Chardonnay in addition to Riesling, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois Gris to produce sparkling wines developed by secondary fermentation. As early as the late 19th century, several companies in Alsace were producing sparkling wines by the traditional method, not only in the vineyard area but also in the cities of Strasbourg and Mulhouse. More than 500 producers are united under the Syndicate of Producers of Crémant d’Alsace. Crémant d’Alsace is currently the top AOC sparkling wine to be consumed in homes across France. Crémant d’Alsace AOC represents 22% of the region’s wine production.
Key White Grape Varieties
In 1840 there were over 150 different grape varieties growing in the Rhine River Valley and the plantings were often indiscriminate. After the German occupation and removal hybrids, Alsace reduced its plethora of grapes to 13 and then focused on 7 varietals integrating them into a varietal quality hierarchy. In Alsace, white grapes are the most important and 90% of AOP wine and about 18% of France’s total AOP production consists of still white wine.
Gewurztraminer (in Alsace it is spelled without the umlaut over the u) is a noble variety. It is a pink-berried clone of the traditional grape Traminer, and steadily replaced it in Alsace’s vineyards throughout the latter half of the 19th century. The grape is a combination of German Gewürz (spicy) and Savagnin Rose (Traminer). Tramine was formerly known as a city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is now Italian. After its introduction in Alsace in 1870, the Traminer has adapted to the climate in a unique way, becoming spicier, and gradually replacing the old Traminer with the Gewurztraminer. It produces wines that are highly aromatic and tends toward perfumed, sweet spices and tropical fruit. It is lower in acidity, but higher in alcohol than Muscat but is more likely to be off-dry. Although winemakers tend not to use new oak use large neutral casks for fermentation and aging. Gewurztraminer achieves greatness on several special terroirs including Grands Crus Kitterlé, Zinkoepflé, Vorbourg, Goldert, Eichberg, Hengst, Brand, Mambourg, and Sporen.
A noble variety, either Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat Rosé à Petits Grains or Muscat Ottonel. Muscat is highly aromatic with fragrant floral and grapy notes. It is lower in acidity. Although winemakers generally do not use new oak many use large neutral casks for fermentation and aging.
Pinot Gris
A noble variety, it is known as Pinot Grigio in Italy and is formerly known as Tokay d’Alsace or Tokay Pinot Gris in Alsace. In Alsace the grape here achieves its fullest, richest expression, with spicy-smoky qualities and a frame of good acidity yet is also round, strong and powerful, expressing fruit flavors of peach and cherry, with flower aromas such as violet acacia (when young). When cellared, it will develop aromas and flavors of apricot, honey, nuts, smoke, and fresh butter.
A noble variety, it is the most planted grape and Alsace’s last noble grape to ripen. Since 2008 Alsatian AOP law mandates that standard Riesling wines must be dry in style. Consequently Alsatian Riesling is usually drier, more powerful, and higher in alcohol than their German Rieslings. They are amongst the longest-lived dry whites in the world, due to a pronounced acidity and minerality. Alsatian Riesling tend to be very aromatic, fresh and dry, its pale robe expresses grapefruit, lime, pineapple, and apple, along with a nice touch of acidity providing much vivacity. As it ages, it will develop honey and quince aromas. Depending on the soil structure on which it grows, it can develop mineral aromas (silex), or orange flavors, and will gain much complexity when cellared.
Auxerrois Gris
Also known as Auxerrois Blanc or Auxerrois Blanc de Laquenexy, it is a white wine grape that is important in Alsace, and is also grown in Germany and Luxembourg. It is a full sibling of Chardonnay that is often blended with the similar Pinot Blanc.
Not considered a noble grape in Alsace. It is not allowed in AOC Alsace wines but is allowed in Crémant d'Alsace. Still Alsace wine from Chardonnay can only be sold as Vin de Table / Vin de France.[16]
Also known as Fendant, Perlan, Gutedel, Dorin, Wälscher, Chasselas de Moissac, Chasselas Doré, Moster, Marzemina Bianca, Chrupka Bila Chasselas is the most important and widely planted white grape variety in Switzerland where it originated around Lake Geneva. Chasselas is a green-skinned variety that turns yellow-golden when ripe. It can be a very vigorous and over productive vine if not properly controlled. It makes very light-bodied wine that blends well with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or almost any other white wine variety available. Today Chasselas is not taken particularly seriously and it has been largely removed from Alsace and the Loire, where it was once widely planted.
Also known as Clevner, elsewhere in France it is known as Pinot Blanc and in Austria it is known as Weißburgunder (Weissburgunder). The name Klevner is derived from the Swiss version of the name of the Northern Italian town Chiavenna, located at the north end of Lake Como. Swiss mercenaries brought grapevines from that region back home across the Alps at the beginning of the 16th Century. It is a pale in color with delicate fruity with peach and pear aromas. It is less aromatic than other white wines in Alsace but it balances between softness. Klevner covers roughly 20% of the vineyards in Alsace.
Also known as Savagnin Rose in the Jura, it is a pink variant of Traminer. There remains a few plantings around the commune of Heiligenstein in the Bas-Rhin. This Savagnin Rose, or Klevener de Heiligenstein, is less intensely aromatic than Gewurztraminer but higher in acidity. There are 5 communes that may bottle this wine varietally under the existing Alsace AOP: Heiligenstein, Bourgheim, Gertwiller, Goxwiller, and Obernai.
Also known as Grüner Silvaner, Sylvaner Verde, Johannisberg, Gros Rhin, Sylvánské Zelené, and Zeleni Silvanec. It is a noble variety, Silvaner is a crossing of Traminer with a little-known variety called Osterreichisch Weiss. The variety made its way to Germany in the 17th Century, and from there to Alsace, where it became particularly popular after World War II. Modern viticulture in Alsace began with Sylvaner but it was gradually replaced with the Chasselas. It can also be found in Alto Adige, northern Italy, where it is a specialty of the Isarco Valley. In Alsace it has have distinctive full-bodied style with a whiff of earth and smoke on the nose. Silvaner lacks Riesling's aromatic intensity and bracing acidity but when planted on clay-limestone soils it can have substantial structure and body. Only one Alsace Grand Cru vineyard – Zotzenberg – is officially permitted to use Sylvaner in its wines. Other notable Alsace wines using Sylvaner include Muré's Cuvée Oscar Sylvaner from the Clos Saint-Landelin, Domaine Ostertag's Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes and the “Now & Zen Wasabi White” (a Sylvaner-dominant blend).
Key Red Grape Varieties
Pinot Noir
A noble variety, the only red wine in Alsace, this grape variety comes from the savage vines of Western Europe, probably selected and cultivated during the Roman Empire. It tends to have aromas of cherry, strawberry, grenadine, raspberry, red currant, licorice and violets and truffles. They tend to be light weight have supple tannins with a high acidity.
Styles of Wine
Alsace wine are usually fermented to dryness without residual sugar but due to climate change grapes now can have higher sugar levels reducing the need to chaptalize (add sugar) to the must. In fact, some wines may actually cease fermenting as the alcohol rises and consequently some producers are producing the wines with a little sweetness. As of the 2008 vintage, with the exception of Grand Cru wines, Riesling can have a maximum residual sugar level of .9% (9g/l) but currently no residual sugar laws apply to any other grapes.[17]
Produced Methode Traditionnelle, it must be aged at least 9 months before release and may have the following sweetness levels: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Sec, Sec (Dry), Demi-Sec.
In 1984, 2 new designations were created for late-harvest wines:
(1) Vendange Tardive (VT) – Refers to Late Harvest wines that may show botrytis character but emphasizes varietal purity. Quality VT wines usually originate from vines in a state of passerillage (French term for the process of drying grapes so their flavors and sugar become concentrated. In Italy it is referred to as appassimento). The grapes for VT wines must be hand-harvested at specific, unenriched minimum sugar levels: Vendanges Tardives requires a minimum of 235 grams per liter for Muscat and Riesling, and 257 grams per liter for Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.
(2) Selections de Grains Nobles (SGN) – Refers to dessert sweet wines made from noble grapes (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurstraminer) affected by Botrytis cinerea (Noble Rot). The grapes are generally picked in tries, and suppress varietal character in return for the complexities of botrytis. “Tries” is the plural of Tri and it is a French term meaning a “sweep” through the vineyard picking grapes. In the harvesting of botrytized grapes, a team will go through the vineyard several times (several tries) over a couple weeks picking only the individual grapes that have been sufficiently rotted. Grapes for SGN wines must be hand-harvested at specific, unenriched minimum sugar levels: Sélection de Grains Nobles requires 276 grams per liter for Muscat and Riesling and 306 grams per liter for Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.  At 306 grams per liter, these wines are amongst the highest minimum must weights in France.

These two terms imply sweetness and may be printed on either Alsace AOP or Alsace Grand Cru AOP labels, provided the wines contain a single, noble variety and pass a blind tasting panel. These wines are not obligated by statute to be sweet though in practice SGN wines are always dessert-like but VT wines may vary in actual sugar, and can be quite dry. 
Key Wine Blends
If no grape variety is listed on the label, an Alsatian wine may be a blend. The term Edelzwicker (“noble mixture”) usually indicates its own inverse: an inexpensive blended wine. Alsace AOP wines labeled Edelzwicker do not need to be vintage-dated, nor are they even legally obligated to contain more than one grape. Usually they are blends and are not required to indicate any percentages or grapes on the label.
“Gentil” is a superior designation for blends, requiring a minimum of 50% noble grapes - Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, and/or Gewurstraminer. Any other Alsace AOP grape may compose the remainder, and the base wines must be vinified separately. Some producers advocate “field blends” as the best approach for serious wines in which the grapes are vinified together and produced under a vineyard name. Marcel Deiss is one of a well-known advocate of using this approach as a means of emphasizing Alsatian terroir.
Pinot d’Alsace
Pinot d’Alsace is a name given to a blend of regional Alsatian wines. The blend tends to be based on Pinot Blanc and include any number of members of the Pinot family; Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. There are no strict regulations as to the blend’s composition, except that the grapes must be grown in Alsace and should contain at least one of the Pinots. Typically it is a proprietary blend and its composition is determined by the style of the winemaker.
Cremant d’Alsace
Discussed in more detail above under the Cremant d’Alsace AOC, this sparkling wine is often a blend but can be 100% of a varietal. There are 500 producers making Crémant d’Alsace in a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. It represents the most popular sparkling AOC wines produced in France outside of Champagne.
Notable Wine Producers
The best known négociants (wine merchants) and wineries are as follows:
Léon Beyer
Domaine Marcel Diess
Hugel Et Fils
Domaine Weinbach
F.E. Trimbach
Domaine Zin Humbrecht
Maison Kunz-Bas
Domaines Schlumberger

Wines Tasted
The following wines were tasted in the French Wine Scholar program:
1. 2010 Peirre Sparr Cremant d’Alsace – Brut Rose

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. A clean pink sparkling wine with minute bubbles. On the nose it has subtle aromas of strawberries, cranberry, lemon zest, chalk and wet pavement. On the palate it is off-dry and crisp with medium++ acidity, it is light in body and has a medium+ length tart mineral driven finish. This wine sells for $16.

2. 2012 André Ostertag "Vignoble d'E" Pinot Noir

A semi-opaque red wine, violet at the core to pink at the rim, with moderate viscosity. On the nose it has subtle aromas of ripe black cherries, plum, hint of clove and pepper with a minute amount of dried roses. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannins, medium+ acidity and a medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $17.

3. 2012 Riefle Pinot Blanc “Bonheur Convivial”

A clear white wine, light straw in color with low viscosity. On the nose it has subtle aromas of melon, lemon-lime, peach skin and minute amount of petrol. On the palate it is dry but fruity, it has moderate acidity, medium body with a semi-creamy mouth feel and a medium length finish. This wine sells for $16.

4. 2012 Meyer-Fonné Gentil d’Alsace

A clear white wine, star bright, pale straw in color, moderate viscosity. On the nose it is clean with a waft of stinky cheese, stale beer, subtle dried peach, lemon-lime. On the palate it has lemon, cheese rind, under ripe melon, it is dry with medium+ acidity, medium bodied and a very long finish. This wine sells for $15.

5. 2012 Zind Humbrecht Muscat

Clear white wine, star bright, straw-gold in color, moderate viscosity. On the nose it has subtle aromas of lemon-lime, rose water, peach skins, minor notes of orange, slate. On the plate it is dry, medium++ acidity, long finish. This wine sells for $25.

6. 2012 Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer

Clear white wine, star bright, light gold in color with a hint of green, moderate viscosity. On the nose it is clean with subtle aromas of lemon-lime zest, minor plastic notes, rose petals, scented hand soap, and a hint of uncooked hot dogs. On the plate it has medium acidity, medium body and a long finish. This wine sells for $25.

7. 2009 Roland Schmitt Vielles Vignes Riesling “Altenberg de Bergbieten” Grand Cru

Clear white wine, day bright, straw in color with a hint of green, moderate viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderate aromas of green apple, dried pineapple, lemon-lime, marzipan, wet stone. On the palate it is dry with medium+ acidity, moderate body, long finish. This wine sells for $30.

[1] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 54.
[2] Cited by Desmond Seward, Monks and Wine (London: Mitchel Beazeley Publishers, 1979), 35.
[3] The Franco-Prussian War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. The conflict centered on efforts to gain control of the southern German states. Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck planned to provoke a French attack in order to draw the southern German states—Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation.
[4] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 55.
[5] For further reading I highly recommend Don and Petie Kladstrup, Wine & War: The French, The Nazis and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure (New York, Broadway Books)
[6] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 55.
[7] Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, The World Atlas of Wine (7th Edition, Octopus Publishing, 2013), 118.
[8] Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, The World Atlas of Wine (7th Edition, Octopus Publishing, 2013), 118.
[9] Wine Map Courtesy of Wine Folly

[10] Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, The World Atlas of Wine (7th Edition, Octopus Publishing, 2013), 118.
[11]  Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 59
[12]  The term “Auxerrois” is also used as a synonym for the black-berried grape Malbec in Cahor but it is unrelated to Auxerrois Gris.
[13] Karen MacNeil, The Wine Bible (Workman Publishing, 2001), 286.
[14] Robert E. Dickinson, Germany: A Regional and Economic Geography (2nd ed.). (London: Methuen, 1964).
[15]  Andre Domine, (ed) Wine (Germany: Tandem Verlag, 2008), 168
[16] Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006), 15.
[17] Julien Camus, Lisa M. Airey, Celine Camus (ed), French Wine Scholar Study Manual (French Wine Society), 61.