Renowned for its white wines, the Alsace wine region Take advantage of Latin and Germanic influences to produce unique wines, and develop high -quality vineyards. the Berne Castle presents theAlsatian vineyard, to discover its origins, its geography, its appellations and its grape varieties.
The story of the Alsace vineyard
The first ones Vine feet in Alsace have appeared in the Celtic era, but it is undoubtedly during the Roman conquest that the vineyard will really develop, thanks to the presence of Roman soldiers on the Germaine border.
The fall of the Roman Empire will lead to the progressive decline of Alsatian vineyards, before they were taken up by the monks in the Middle Ages. Many monastic and episcopal domains are then born, and the Alsatian viticulture knows its peak in the 17th century.
Unfortunately, the Thirty Years War will cause the total loss of the vineyard, then the Ballottage of Alsace between Germany and France will not help its reconstruction, just like the phylloxera crisis in 1871, and the Second World War .
After all these events, the Alsatian vineyard is reborn from its ashes, focusing its viticulture on the quality of wines. Of the Exceptional wines That we are fortunate to know today.
The geography of the Alsatian vineyard
Extended over 170 km, between Mulhouse and Strasbourg, the Alsace wine region is distributed over the Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin departments. In the center, the city of Colmar is considered the capital of this historic vineyard.
Although little extensive, the Alsace vineyard Take advantage of several terroirs, which allow it to produce very varied wines. Thus, according to Alsace wine regions, the floors will be composed of limestone, granite, sandstone, or gneiss. So many types of basements that directly influence the grape varieties and the quality of the wines obtained.
We tend to say that it rains a lot and that it is cold in Alsace. Yet the Alsatian wine region Take advantage of a semi-continental temperate climate which allows it, of course, to have very rigorous winters, but also to enjoy hot and sunny summers. Precipitation is low, and the region is protected from wet winds from the Atlantic by the Vosges massifs.
Finally, all the conditions are met to cultivate the vineyard, which the Alsatian winegrowers are brilliantly.
Alsace grape varieties
The Alsatian wine region is distinguished by its viticulture mainly based on white grape varieties. Indeed, 90 % of vineyards cultivate grape varieties for produce white wine, and only 10 % are dedicated to the production of red wine and rosé wine.
The main grape varieties of the Alsace vineyard
If we find a little gamay and pinot noir for the Vinification of red wines and pink wines, Alsace concentrates the majority of its know-how to the culture of White grape varieties.
- The Sylvaner;
- Pinot Blanc;
- Pinot Gris;
Among the white accessories grape varieties, we find Chardonnay, used for the manufacture of Crémant d'Alsace.
The characteristics of the Alsatian noble grape varieties
Among the different grape varieties cultivated in Alsace, some are considered noble. There are 4 of them: the riesling, the Pinot Gris, the gewurztraminer and the muscat. These 4 Noble grape varieties are the only ones authorized for the production of sweet wine in the selection of noble grains or in late harvest. They also fall into the composition of most Grands Crus of Alsace.
The specifics of the Alsace wine bottle
The Alsace wine bottle is easily recognized in a wine merchant or in a wine department, since it is the only one to have a particular shape, with a cylindrical and right body, and an elongated collar. This Alsatian flute is compulsory for the job of Alsace's quiet wines.
Furthermore, the Alsace wine is also the only one to mention the grape variety on the label. Since the phylloxera crisis, the majority of Alsace wines have been monoceepage, this information thus gives precious information on the style of wine.
The appellations of Alsace wines
As with all wine regions of France, there is a certain hierarchy in the appellations of Alsatian wines.
- L'AOC Alsace : it covers almost 70 % of vineyards in the region;
- The AOC Alsace followed by a geographic name (AOC Alsace Bergheim, AOC Alsace Saint-Hippolyte, AOC Alsace Rodern, etc.): the municipalities or inter-municipal entities authorized to use the AOC Alsace mention 13;
- L'AOC Alsace Grand Cru, followed by the place called: reserved for noble grape varieties, this appellation concerns 51 terroirs of Alsace which respect rules for the development of strict;
- The locality: the wines produced on a well-defined location, without being classified as great wines, also respect very supervised manufacturing rules;
- L'AOC Crémant d'Alsace : For effervescent wines made with the traditional method (or Champagne method).
In addition to these names, other mentions can be added for certain wines.
- Late harvest (VT): Reserved for the 4 noble grape varieties, this mention requires 18 months of minimum breeding, and a late harvest of grapes in overmaturity;
- Selection of noble grains (SGN): it also reserved for the 4 noble grape varieties, this mention also requires 18 months of breeding before marketing, and only concerns the harvest of grapes with noble rot.
The Alsace wine region is essential for the tasting of exceptional white wines, but it can also surprise you with its effervescent, red and rosé wines. Enjoy a stay on the wines To make a beautiful discovery of a vineyard with legendary nobility.