Alsace is a meltingly beautiful wine region, its physical beauty matched by the splendour of its wines, thanks in part to a geology sufficiently diverse to keep a geologist fascinated for a lifetime. With the Vosges mountains to its west, the River Rhine to its east (and beyond it, Germany’s Black Forest), the glory of its mostly white wines stands in stark contrast to its grim history, during which terrible wars have been fought where today there are picture postcard villages, a continuous carpet of verdant vines, and lovely korbelled and half-timbered houses in which some of France’s finest gastronomy is served to two million tourists a year in Colmar alone.
Alsace Millésime is a one-day exhibition for the world’s wine writers, staged in Colmar. In June, 99 wineries served around 10 wines each, adding up to probably 1,000 wines. An impossible task. I managed to taste at just 12 stands. But, over the next four days I made a number of visits and tasted many more wines, visited vineyards and wineries and met producers. I have posted 210 tasting notes on the app as a result, with more to come when I find time to transcribe them!
There are reviews of wines from Hugel (tastings), Trimbach (tastings), Paul Blanck (tastings), Mader (tastings), Wolfberger (tastings), Albert Mann (tastings), Dopff au Moulin (tastings), Meyer-Fonné (tastings), Albert Boxler (tastings), Josmeyer (tastings), Kuehn (tastings), Marcel Deiss (tastings), Barmès Buecher (tastings), Zind-Humbrecht (tastings), André Kientzler (tastings), and Domaine Weinbach (tastings).
There are many stunning wines – rieslings ranging from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, a similar range of pinot gris, also crisp pinot blanc, sparkling Crémant d’Alsace, the constantly improving dry red pinot noir and the most decadent grape of all, gewürztraminer.
All of the producers I’ve reviewed export to Australia.
Next month I’ll be adding wines from Bott-Geyl, Joseph Cattin, Cave de Turckheim, Cave de Beblenheim, Hubert Metz, Haag, Klur, Jean-Marc Bernhard, and Schlumberger.
Alsace travel tips
- Restaurants: I had many fine meals but these three were exceptional, listed in order of preference. L’Atelier du Peintre, La Maison des Têtes (under new management and chef), Jean Schillinger – all in Colmar.
- Others I’ve enjoyed in the past: Au Trotthus, Hostellerie au Moulin (both in Riquewihr); Chambard (in Kaisersberg). And of course the great three-star, Auberge de L’Ill.
- Recommended hotels: Hotel le Colombier and Hotel Maréchal (both in Colmar).
- Must visit: Musée Unterlinden, Colmar (newly renovated).