Alsace and wine as a heritage

Alsace and wine as a heritage

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I came back from Alsace a few weeks ago. It was, believe it or not, my first time in the area. I already liked its wines a lot and I knew it was bucolic, charming and quite unique with its colorful half-timbered houses. My expectations of the northern beauty were therefore rather high. She did not disappoint me.

At the risk of repeating myself, Alsace is complex. To understand it, you have to look at its history, forged by two nations that have fought over it for centuries: Germany and France. This double cultural heritage (religious, culinary, philosophical) is at the very heart of the Alsatian identity, which is also reflected in its wines. There, you can still hear locals distinguishing between “Catholic wines” and “Protestant wines”. The idea is that Catholic families make more ample and exuberant wines, while Protestants would sign more sober wines, like their places of worship. Interesting, right?

Rumor also has it that this same Germanic heritage partly explains the ecological fiber of Alsatian winegrowers, precursors in the rise of biodynamics in France and Europe. Alsace is still at the top of organic and biodynamic European vineyards with almost a quarter of the vineyard certified. The influence of the Vosges, which makes Colmar one of the French cities with the lowest rainfall, is undoubtedly not unrelated to the omnipresence of organic, but that is a subject for a future column. Cheers!

Domaine Josmeyer, Pinot gris 2018, Fromenteau, Alsace 

★★★★ | $$$ | $36.25 | France 13.5% | 5.3 g/L – Biodynamic

Isabelle and Céline Meyer honor the memory of their father and maintain the high quality of the wines of the Wintzenheim estate, a stone's throw from downtown Colmar. Their Pinot Gris comes from a range of plots, including the place called Herrenweg, in Turckheim. Winey and quite solid, with intense flavors of butterscotch and apricot; lots of mid-palate volume and a long, satisfying finish. Drink without hurry until 2028.

SAQ code: 13200600

Hugel & Son, Gentil 2020, Alsace

★★★ | $1⁄2 | $17.95 | France 12.5% ​​| 6 g/L

In Alsace, the term “gentle” refers to a traditional wine made from a blend of a few grape varieties. The one produced by the Hugel family, in the heart of the small village of Riquewihr, combines the volume and flavors of gewürztraminer, the structure of pinot gris and the vitality of riesling, with a hint of muscat for the fruit and sylvaner, for the tone. An Alsatian classic, with good reason.

SAQ code: 367284

René Muré, Sylvaner 2020, Original, Alsace

★★★1⁄2 | $$ | $20.30 | France 12.5% ​​| 3 g/L – Biodynamic

Like their father before them, Véronique and Thomas Muré take all their wines seriously. From their entry-level cuvées to the sublime Clos St-Landelin, flagship of the Vorbourg grand cru, in Rouffach. Their sylvaner is partly based on the purchase of grapes from organic winegrowers in neighboring towns. A dry and straight white wine, enhanced with notes of fresh apricot and beeswax. Open and ready to serve with meaty, saline oysters. Excellent quality-price-pleasure ratio! 

SAQ code: 10656556

Vineyard of the 3 Lands, Pinot Blanc 2019 , Fly me to the moon, Alsace

★★★★ | $$1⁄2 | $29.30 | France 13% | 4.3 g/L – Biodynamic

Sébastien Mann takes over the family estate of Eguisheim, whose vineyards have been biodynamic since 2009. Even if it does not claim to be a “terroir wine”, this Pinot Blanc has a very distinctive signature, marked by the generosity of the 2019 vintage, with an underlying freshness that elevates the material and makes your mouth water. Saline, delicate and elegant. Enjoy with barely seared scallops.

SAQ code: 13830521

Mélanie Pfister, Pinot Gris 2019, Furd, Alsace

★★★★ | $$1⁄2 | $28.30 | France 14% | 6.2 g/L – In organic conversion

This family estate in Dahlenheim, not far from Strasbourg, is in the hands of one of the most prominent winegrowers in Alsace. All the plots are planted in limestone soils, guaranteeing tension and freshness in the wines. Even from a hot vintage, this Pinot Gris shines with its sapidity and great “drinkability”. Ample, bursting with flavors of peach and sweet spices, highlighted by a delicate bitterness. Very nice balance between finesse and structure. An excellent gastronomic wine.

SAQ code: 14000546

Correct★

Good★★

Very good★★★

Excellent★★★★

Exceptional★★★★★

More stars than dollars: well worth the price

As many stars as dollars: worth the price

Fewer stars than dollars: the wine is expensive< /p>