Alsace Wines And Champagnes
Before traveling the beautiful French countryside, going from vineyard to vineyard, it might be wise to learn a little bit about the many regions of France and the wines that they are so famous for richly producing.
First of all, don’t be intimidated; there is a lot to learn but a wealth of information. First, let’s explore the Northern region of France and its signature wines. Climate and soil have everything to do with the growth of grapes and the Northern region of France is subject to hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
Although there are winemakers who will tell you that the love for producing wonderful wine has a little to do with growing grapes.
The two major wine terroirs (French for region) of Northern France are Alsace and Champagne.
Although Alsace is the smallest region of France, it is responsible for some of the world’s best wines. It is situated between the Vosges Mountain range and the Rhine River. The Vosges protect the Alsace region from rain, thus its drier climate, which makes it perfect for growing and harvesting grapes.
Alsace Wines And Champagnes
This sparkling, dry white wine is produced the same way as champagne. It is made with the Pinot Blanc, Gris, and Noir grapes; in addition to Chardonnay and Riesling grapes. It is best as an aperitif or dessert wine as it is light.
This wine is sweeter than the Alsace Riesling, and is considered to be spicy and fruity. It is perfect with Mexican food, but can also be served as a dessert wine.
This is a soft, light white wine, made from the Pinot Blanc grape and should be served with white meat or fish. It also makes a nice table wine.
Tokay Pinot Gris
This is a rich, fill bodied white wine, made from the Pinot Gris grape. The “Tokay” portion of the name has been officially removed to quell confusion over this and the Hungarian Tokay. This wine is so hearty that it can be served with red meat, but is best with white meat or eggs dishes.
This is famous for being the best wine from the Alsace region and is not to be confused with the sweeter German variety of the same name. Alsace Riesling is a dry, white wine best served with shellfish and believe it or not, sauerkraut.
This is a dry, fruity white wine that goes great with pork, seafood, or salads.
The Champagne region of France is west of the Alsace region and a little Northeast of Paris. Champagne is recognized all over the world as a celebratory wine, making it one of the most well-known and popular wines in the world.
The chief grapes in Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir. The best Champagnes are stored in cellars that have been dug in the chalky soil of the region.
There are three major areas where Champagne is produced:
- Cote des Blanc : The Chardonnay grape is grown here.
- Marne Valley : The famous Perrier-Jouët hails from here. The Benedictine Monks also produce Dom Pérignon near Reims. This is where Pinot Meunier grapes are grown.
- Montagne de Reims : The Pinot Noir grape grows here.
Champagne is served at celebrations and is generally served at weddings and New Year’s Eve. Although, you need no real reason to enjoy this sparkling wine and is wonderful when served with caviar, smoked fish, or shellfish.
Now that you are versed on the wine regions of Northern France, it will be easier for you to make travel plans and decide exactly where you will be doing your sipping!
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : Alsace Wines And Champagnes