Wine from the Sylvaner grape is pleasant, light, fresh, and thirst-quenching.
PINOT BLANC GRAPES
This is the most widely cultiv ated grape variety in Alsace. Wine from these grapes is fresh, supple, and usually has no strong taste so that it can be drunk with anything. An off shoot of the Pinot Blanc family is the Auxerrois grape and wines from these are sometimes sold under their own name. The earlier local name for Pinot Blanc of Clevner or Klevner may also be encountered.
MUSCAT D'ALSACE GRAPES
Muscat is immediately recognisable by its sensual, heady aroma of Muscat grapes. Muscat is always made as a dry wine in Alsace unlike the southern Muscats. No other wine retains the smell and taste of the fresh grapes like Muscat.
The Riesling is regarded as a noble grape throughout the world. Riesling achieves outstanding quality in Alsace.
Thise French wine is elegant, fresh, and delicate. Depending on the soil it yields hints of fruit, flowers, or even minerals. Better Riesling wines have both a great deal of character and refinement at the same time. It is an ideal wine to serve with meals.
Gewiirztraminer and Alsace are inextricably associated with each other. Wine from the Gewiirztraminer grape has a great deal o£ character, a full colour, intense and almost exotic perfume of tropical fruits (lychee, grapefruit), native fruit (quince) , flowers (acacia, roses), or spices (cinnamon, pepper, clove), and a generous, rounded finish.
PINOT GRIS/TOKAY D'ALSACE GRAPES
The Pinot Gris of Alsace is worthy of praise. The wine is dark in colour and is possessed of an extremely expressive aroma, in which spices predominate. The taste is like the smell, strong, full and in tensely complex.
PINOT NOIR GRAPES
There is only the one type of red grape but three different types of Pinot Noir wines. First in line are generous, fresh, and friendly roses. Higher up the scale come next the pale red Pinot Noir wines which most resemble a simple Burgundy. These characteristically have the smell and taste of red fruit (cherry).
Finally, there are the best Pinot Noirs, of which the juice is continuously drained during vinification from the fermentation vats or barrels and poured again over the grape skins.. This imparts deeper colour, intensifies the flavour, and makes a more full-bodied wine. These Pinot Noirs 'vinifies en rouge' are usually aged in large oak casks. The best wines come from the oldest vineyards are identified by 'cuvee vielles vignes' on the label.
OTHER GRAPE VARIETIES
In addition to the well-known grapes already mentioned, there are two others that need a mention.
One is Chardonnay, grown in Alsace but reserved solely or sparkling wine, the second is Klevener, an old variety of Alsace grape, better known as Traminer or Savagnin in the neighbouring Jura. These grapes were once widely used but are being replaced by the more aro matic Gewiirztraminer. Klevener is fine to drink at table.