Everyone says Alsace is full of picturesque Alpine villages, and that I must go there. The streets are walkable and quaint, the architecture as adorable as if Walt Disney had designed it, the food delicious, the wines delightful.
So far my travels to France in 2018 and 2019 have not included this far northeastern region. Located beside Germany and above Switzerland, Alsace is only a few hours on the bullet train away from Paris airports, and even closer from Champagne which I’ve visited twice.
In addition to being intensely cute with wonderful wine and food, an additional draw is that Alsace is one of the “greenest” regions in France with one-third of all vineyards certified organic or in conversion, an increase of 33% compared to 2019, and 4.5% of producers are certified biodynamic, making it the second largest region of France in terms of numbers with 11.5% certified biodynamic and 32% of the region organic.
It’s easier to go green in Alsace because the region enjoys a sunny and dry climate, second driest in France. Alsace also experiences a lot of sunshine with 1,800 hours annually. Warm days and cool nights allow for slow ripening, which produces complex, aromatic and balanced wines.
To the west, the Vosges Mountains protect the vineyards. Demeter certified wineries number 73 with 1537 acres certified of 1730 biodynamic vineyards; 21 wineries are Biodyvin certified (read more about that program here).
Alsace boasts 13 different and very distinct types of soil from volcanic to limestone to clay, the most diverse terroir in France. These soils contribute different characteristics to the wine, but also means they can match the rocks to the grapes.
With 53 appellations in the region, it can be confusing.
- AOC Alsace for affordable still wines;
- Crémant d’Alsace for affordable sparkling wine
- 51 distinct Grand Cru sites offer concentration and complexity at a higher price
We’ve written about wines from Alsace several times — we’re fans! Check out
Discover Why Riesling From #AlsaceRocks
Alsace Rocks 4 Riesling With Fondue
Still and Sparkling: 2 Biodynamic Wines from Alsace for #Winophiles
This time we decided to focus on three very special bottles of riesling.
- Cheese board
- Fresh pasta with uni
- Black cod with capers
- Dessert Salad with fresh berries and cheese.
> Chocolate Raspberry Chevere – MacKenzie Creamery from Ohi
> Baby greens,
> Fresh whipped cream (organic, add about a T powdered sugar)
> Fresh picked mulberries (or other fresh berries
> Salted toasted pecans.
> Next time we are adding a herbed shortbread cookie
note: all 3 wines are samples
- 2018 Kuentz-Bas Riesling
- 2017 Meyer-Fonne Kaefferkopf Riesling
- 2015 Albert Boxler Grand Cru Sommerberg Riesling
2018 Kuentz-Bas Riesling
Color: Pale lemon, very pale,
Nose: In the right glass, there is a lot of herbaceous, I picked up dill, Sue found fennel and anise. The aroma is most apparent in a proper Riesling glass as opposed to a standard white wine glass.
Palate: The mouthfeel is very noticeable and lovely, mid palate is full of mint, eucalyptus, ricola. This is a wonderful wine.
Pairing: With the salami so much fennel and anise come through, and the wine becomes fruitier than it really is. Tete Moines such a great companion, while our herbed brie was a bit bland and gummy with the wine. Nice with rosemary Marcona almonds. Very nice with the oyster, it is a very zesty pairing, Sue even felt it read like horseradish even though there wasn’t any in they oysters or the meal. The black cod and this wine is all about the richness when both are together. It cuts through a bit of the richness, but not so much as to wash it away completely. What perfect end to an incredible meal. Why don’t we finish our meals this way more often. Salad and fruit and the raspberry chocolate chevere are beyond phenomenal. We talked about how wonderful the whipped cream was with the lettuce and cheese.
2017 Meyer-Fonne Kaefferkopf Riesling
SRP $54 (imported by Kermit Lynch)
In 1992, Félix Meyer took over the family domaine located in the village of Katzenthal, known for its distinctive granite soil. He has worked to modernize equipment, develop export sales, and expand family’s holdings including several grand crus.
The Kaefferkopf is one of the most renowned Grands Crus in Alsace becasue the clayey calcareous sandstone soil provides body, strength and structure.
Color: Pale lemon, also quite pale
Nose: Very light petrol, grassy mountain meadow, alpine
Palate: Pine, pine tar, menthol, mineral clean feeling, mouthwatering acidity, delicious for sipping on its own. This is a memorable wine. The finish lingers so long leaving you with a clean fresh palate. A fantastic wine with the correct pairings. After having food, we recognized a blood orange quality.
Pairing: Tete Moines cheese and this wine are fast friends. It was also nice with the herbed brie loving the herbs and cutting through the creaminess. Very nice with our Pinot Grigio salami, making us think how well it would go with brat, then we started thinking about fondue. The wine brings out the rich creamy qualities of the oyster, with a splash of Meyer lemon, the acidity of the wine and the acidity of the lemon make the oyster experience nicely creamy. The wine is perfect with the rich complexity of the meal. The creamy uni, the rich butter lemon caper over the Black Cod is tamed so nicely by the bright acidity of the wine. This dessert was so fabulous with the wine. We do not usually like chocolate and wine. This is completely different. There is the chocolate flavor without being sweet. The dessert is creamy and rich with out being sweet. It would also be fantastic with red wine.
2015 Albert Boxler Grand Cru Sommerberg Riesling
ABV 13% alcohol
SRP $65 (500ml)
imported by Kermit Lynch
Color: Daffodil, golden yellow
Nose: Dill, pine tar, menthol, ricola
Palate: Mouthwatering acidity with sweetness, apricot, your perfect combination between sweet and tart apricot.
Pairing: Sue wanted the rosemary pear brie tart she makes. I was thinking that a nice herbed shortbread cookie would be fantastic. The salad and chocolate raspberry cheese dessert was with the wine. Take concept and make dessert crostini. Sue rarely eats an entire course all the way through, however was licking the plate.
The “dessert salad” and this wine? A perfect mate. It is almost like a chocolate raspberry cheese cake that is not so sweet and has a nice tang. Yummy!
There is what we have learned from tasting, but there is what we intuitively know that brought this meal together in so many ways.
Anyone can do unsweetened berries, and lightly sweetened whipped cream to bring this dish into perfection.
- All About the Wines of Alsace by Jennifer Martin at Vino Travels
- Alsace Wine and Cold Poached Salmon with Sauce Verte (Green Mayonnaise) by Terri Steffes at Our Good Life
- Alsace Wines’ Heart and Soul – Land Sustainability, Family Tradition and Food Compatibility by Pinny Tam at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings
- Alsace Wines Shine with Summer’s Bounty Risotto by Jeff Burrows at Food Wine Click!
- Blending Innovation and Tradition with Wines of Alsace by Jill Barth at L’Occasion
- Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry with Wine from Alsace by David Crowley at Cooking Chat
- Domaines Schlumberger 2018 Pinot Blanc: A Delectable Grape Mutation + Criques de Pommes de Terre by Cam Mann at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Five Winemaking Women of Alsace by My Full Wine Glass
- Once Upon a Wine in Alsace by Wining With Mel
- Shrimp Louis Sandwiches paired with an Alsace Pinot Blanc by Wendy Klik at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Summer Food Pairings with Alsace Wines by Jane Niemeyer at Always Ravenous
- Wines of Alsace Bring the Wow Every Time by What’s in that Bottle?
- Women of Alsace – Conversations with 4 Women on their Family Wineries in Alsace by Robin Renken at Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc with a Leek & Bacon Tart by Nicole Ruiz Hudson at Somm’s Table
- and here on Wine Predator, Sue and I have 3 Riesling from Alsace
I am so intrigued by the salad! Chocolate Chevre, whipped cream, and berries with lettuce. It sounds crazy and wonderful. This paired with dry Riesling correct? Did the dill notes in the wine fade to the background with the salad, or did that somehow pair and match? This pairing has me fascinated!
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It just all worked! I’m guessing the greens eliminated the dill. Very little whipped cream, very little sweetness added, mostly just rich! It was truly a spectacular experience!
These all sound amazing! We would love a good wine for the oysters we eat from Maine. I’m sure the Meyer-Fonne Riesling would be perfect.
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Honestly we didn’t think the oysters would be THE BOMB pairing that it was! These wines had such complexity and such a long finish they would hang with the oysters!
Three beautiful examples from three awesome producers. I love the pairing suggestions here as well — and I’m always excited for oysters. Although the idea of Sue’s pear, rosemary, and brie tart also struck my fancy!
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Yes, three fantastic wines. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for!
Sue’s pear, rosemary, and brie tart has me drooling! Does sound mouthwatering with that Boxler Grand Cru Riesling vendanges tardives. I want to taste with the two of you!
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Oh that tart is fabulous! But these wines are super interesting and versatile with food because they have so much acidity and complexity.