What to drink…

Living France - - À La Maison -

Most Al­sace wine is white, and it’s usu­ally made from a sin­gle grape va­ri­ety. These tend to be strongly aro­matic, and of­ten have resid­ual sugar. Un­for­tu­nately, it can be hard to know the ex­act sweet­ness of Al­sace wines from their la­bels – but there are a few clues. Any­thing la­belled Ven­dan­ges Tar­dives or Sélec­tion de Grains No­bles will def­i­nitely have some level of sugar, with the lat­ter cat­e­gory de­not­ing very sweet dessert wine. The most help­ful pro­duc­ers fea­ture the word sec to in­di­cate dry wines, but most don’t bother, sadly.

Thank­fully, choos­ing grape va­ri­ety is much eas­ier, as this will al­most al­ways be stated clearly. The main va­ri­eties are Pinot Blanc, Ries­ling,

Cave de Tur­ck­heim, Booths Vieilles Vignes Ries­ling 2009 (£52.69 for 6, Ama­zon – price may vary) Ries­ling is one of the few white va­ri­eties that ages well, and it’s an Al­sa­tian spe­cial­ity. This old vines ex­am­ple still has plenty of ripe lime fruit and a good driz­zle of honey, but it fin­ishes bone dry and the high acid­ity leaves lip-smack­ing fresh­ness. Pinot Gris, Mus­cat and Gewurz­traminer, each of which has their own dis­tinct per­son­al­ity. Pinot Blanc is usu­ally quite light and cit­ric, Ries­ling tastes more like lime juice, Mus­cat has a musky grape juice char­ac­ter while Gewurz­traminer is a flam­boy­ant, ex­tro­vert grape va­ri­ety that reeks of Turk­ish De­light and trop­i­cal fruit syrup.

Be­cause Al­sace white is aro­matic and of­ten quite sweet, the wines are of­ten paired with spicy food, es­pe­cially Asian cui­sine – but they also make a fine ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the lo­cal Mun­ster cheese. Here are three rec­om­men­da­tions show­ing Al­sace wine at its best.

Hugel, Tra­di­tion Pinot Gris 2013 Al­sace (from £12.50, widely avail­able) Hugel is one of the most re­li­able pro­duc­ers in Al­sace, and the fam­ily have been mak­ing wine there since 1639. This Pinot Gris has lovely pear-skin fruit flavour with a sweet spice sprin­kling on the fin­ish.

Cave de Tur­ck­heim, Brand Gewurz­traminer 2011 Al­sace Grand Cru (from £17.75, Ch­ester Beer & Wine, Vir­gin Wines and other in­de­pen­dents) Gewurz­traminer is the call­ing card of Al­sace. This medium-sweet, flavour­some ex­am­ple from the co-op cel­lar in Tur­ck­heim is from a Grand Cru vine­yard called Brand and has op­u­lent rose aro­mas and su­per-ripe ly­chee fruit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.