Alsace Wine Tours

Lovely as a picture postcard, the land of Alsace has not always been as peaceful and prosperous as it is today. A few kilometres from the Franco-German border, it has been a battleground for warring nations, and has changed sovereignty several times over the centuries.

Alsace wine tours

Its unfortunate geopolitical location was, however, a boon for the grape grower. A continuous north-south strip of land, 120 kms by no more than 10 kms, lying snugly between the Vosges mountains to the west and the Rhine river and Black Forest to the east, provides a protected place for the vine. And what you see above ground is not all you get - volcanic movements over the aeons have given the most varied subsoil of any French wine region: sandstone, sand, granite, schist, limestone and marl are all present in a kaleidoscopic jigsaw.

It is in this blessed spot that the four ‘noble’ grape varieties - Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Tokay-Pinot Gris and Muscat - develop a varied and complex palette of nuanced flavours and aromas. Although these varieties are common over the border in Germany, the Alsatian wines are much drier. Almost all whites, this is no country for the red fiend.

What is good for the grape is also good for wine tours. The compactness of the area and its easy, rural roads lend themselves to more visits per day than most other regions – if you are so minded. For accommodation, I would usually opt for an auberge in a smaller town or village, rather than the cities of Strasbourg to the north or Mulhouse in the south. Colmar town can be a reasonable compromise. Oh, bring a good appetite: German portions and French skill in the kitchen make an irresistible combination.

 Alsace Wine Tour Basics

  • Approx 500 kms east of Paris
  • 90% white wine; 25% exported
  • Vineyards created 3rd century AD; disrupted by wars, phylloxera
  • One of driest regions in France, sheltered by Vosges mountains
  • Key tasting words: acacia, pineapple,lemon, quince, geranium, lychee, honey, Muscat, rose, lime blossom, violet

Wine Regions in France Rhone Wine Region Champagne Wine Region Burgundy Wine Region Loire Wine Region Bordeaux Wine Region Provence Wine Region Alsace Wine Region

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