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What to do in Alsatian Wine Country

Alsace white wines have intense, fresh aromas and the vibrant expression of the grapes owes much to the regional climate - ideal for winemaking - the geological diversity of its terroirs and the vast experience of the producers. Varietals range from the crisp, fruity notes of Riesling, through to the lusher, more exotic Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, while Alsace also has a formidable reputation for its Crémant d'Alsace sparkling wines, its Grands Crus and its Vendanges Tardives (late harvest wines). The wines show an extraordinary affinity for food, pairing perfectly with seafood, world cuisine, white meat, cheese and deserts. All Alsace wines have full "AOC" status. Wines of "AOC Alsace" and "AOC Alsace Grand Cru" always come in the traditional slender Alsace "flûte" bottle.They are served chilled at 8-10°C.Crémant d'Alsace is served at 5-7°C.

AOC ALSACE GRANDS CRUS 

The Alsace Grand Cru AOC covers 51 exceptional terroirs, which have historically shown that they can produce wines of singular character and expressive power. Grands Crus have the most stringent production standards of Alsace, while the Zotzenberg, Altenberg de Bergheim and Kaefferkopf Grands Crus  have introduced even tighter standards.The label must indicate the vintage, the name of the lieux-dit and also the varietal (either Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris or Muscat, although there are a handful of exceptions to the rule). 

Alsace Grands Crus account for just 4% of the region's total wine production.

L’AOC ALSACE 

This is the principal AOC (75% of total production). The label includes the varietal, but may also include a brand or the terms  “Edelzwicker” or “Gentil” for blended white wines.
Wines with a typical character, which meet higher quality standards, can add the name of their communal geographical name or lieu-dit to the label.

AOC CREMANT D’ALSACE 
This qualification applies to sparkling Alsace wines, lively and delicate, which are produced by the traditional method of fermentation in bottle. Principally made from the Pinot Blanc grape, but also from Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they are now the mostpopular AOC sparkling wines in France. They account for 23% of Alsace wine production.