Alsace AOC is a wine-producing region in eastern France that was recognized by the Appellation D’origine Contrôlée (AOC) in 1962. Although it’s geographically small (smallest region in metropolitan France), Alsace is one of the most densely populated regions in all of France, with a population of 1,815,488 (2006 census).One of the characteristics that sets Alsace apart from other AOC wines is the simple fact that it’s mostly varietally labeled – meaning a single grape variety is used to produce Alsace wine. Consumers can typically identify the grape variety of Alsace wine, or any varietally labeled wine, by looking at the bottle. If the grape variety is not listed on the bottle, it’s typically produced with a blend of several different grape varieties, oftentimes referred to as “Gentil.”
Alsace is technically broken into three different regions: Alsace AOC for white, rose and red wines; Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines; and Crémant d’Alsace AOC for sparkling wines. The Alsace AOC and Grand Cru AOC regions are known for producing some of the finest quality wrestling wines, which attract thousands of wine enthusiasts annually.
As you may already know, regions classified as AOC must have unique geographic features which affect wine production, and Alsace AOC is no exception; it features the towering Vosges mountain range to the west and the Rhine river to the east. The actual vineyards of Alsace AOC are located in a narrow stretch of land running between these two geographic elements.
Choice Picks of Alsace AOC Wineries and Vineyards:
- Maison Trimbach – Founded in 1626 (yes, it’s really that old) in the French countryside town of Riquewihr, Maison Trimbach is one of the most popular Alsace AOC wineries. They produce a fine Riseling in the traditional Alsace style that’s aged to perfection.
- Hugel & Fils – Also located in Riquewihr, France, Hugel & Fils is one of the largest Alsace AOC wineries. This family-owned winery produces a variety of wines, including both dry and sweet, from their 62 acres of planted vineyards.
- Marcel Deiss – Based in Bergheim, France, Marcel Deiss is a producer of fine organic wines. They are one of the few Alsace wineries that do not display the grape variety on their labels. Instead, they display on the vineyard name. Marcel Deiss use a three level grading system to gauge the characteristics and attributes of their wine: Vins de Fruits, Vins de Temps and Vins de Terroirs.