Alsace Wines


The wines from Alsace deserve a place at your table. It’s hard to say whether they’re more like German wines with a French temperament or vice versa. It’s the only region in France to label its wines by grape varietal, most of which are only grown within Alsace. Compared to German wines, these tend to be drier with more body and texture.

Alsatian producers generally are small, family-run vineyards, many of which are committed to organic and biodynamic winemaking. The wines are usually fragrant with a great balance between tree fruits and mineral flavors.

They are also some of the world’s best wines to enjoy with food—lower in alcohol, with good acidity and flavors that complement rather than compete with cuisine. They are especially good with the traditional cuisine of Alsace—smoked trout, sausages, and cabbage. Brats, anyone?

2004 Bott-Geyl Muscat, $17 Delicate scents of white peach and spring flowers with a soft but tangy mouthfeel. Ideal to enjoy on that day when the scent of spring arrives.

2005 Willy Gisselbrecht Gewurztraminer $14
Very fragrant aromas of rose petals and spice with good acidity for a gewurz and a dry finish. Lovely with both Thai cuisine and roast pork.

2001 Hauscherr Riesling $13
Classic, dry Riesling with subtle peach and mineral flavors. A great seafood Riesling, especially with trout. 2005 Domaine Zind

Humbrecht Pinot Gris $22
Deep, autumnal flavors of caramel, nuts, and smoke from one of Alsace’s greatest producers. The wine is thick but dry with an aftertaste hinting of figs. Awesome with grilled salmon!

Listed in order of increasing weight/intensity. Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested.

Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Étoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

Madison Magazine - April 2007


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