Ravenous for Reisling
In Alsace, Reisling is the most planted and popular grape variety, however, it wasn’t always like this…
Alasce has enjoyed a colourful history, being owned originally by France, then occupied by Germany, then being passed back over to France, then getting re-occupied by Germany in the second world war, and finally becoming a part of France once again in 1945…
The adoption and re-adoption of this region has left its mark on almost every aspect of the area, including, the architecture, cuisine, language, and of course the wine!
Under the German ruling of Alsace, Reisling vines were ripped out of the ground and replaced with lesser quality varieties such as muller thurugau to eliminate any competition with Germany’s top Reisling producing region, Mosel.
Once again, however, Reisling vines are thriving in Alsace and are giving the Mosel valley a run for its money…not that the two styles can be compared.
Respect For Reisling
Reisling is such a well respected grape variety thanks to it’s super tantalising acidity, powerful aromas and amazing ageing ability.
This is what contributes to the minimal intervention philosophy of Alsatian winemakers.
Top Reisling producers in Alsace are aiming for purity of flavour…
This means that producers aren’t interested in masking the flavours of this aromatic grape variety with oak ageing, malolactic fermentation, or the addition of commercial yeasts.
Instead, neutral barrels are used for maturation and many producers chose to use organic and biodynamic practices to ensure that grapes stay healthy so that no unnatural additives are required.
What Makes Alsace Reisling Special?
Alsace Reisling’s are unlike any other Reislings produced anywhere else in the world thanks to the regions super sunny, yet cool climate. This allows for the grapes to reach intense, ripe fruit notes while allowing them to develop a racy, sharp acidity due to a longer ripening period.
The classic Alsatian Reisling is a dry version, despite many misconceptions that Reisling is always sweet…
There is an exception however, vendange tardive (VT) and selection de grains nobles (SGN) wines are incredibly sweet since the grapes are harvested much later, when they are overripe.
So what are the stand out aromas in Alsatian Reisling? Peach, floral and pear notes are all common and once a good Reisling has aged a few years in the bottle you’ll start to notice those TDN notes of kerosene and petrol!
When in Alsace, no matter whether you chose a Reisling, Muscat, Gewurtztraminer, or Pinot Gris, you’ll be sure to expect a rich wine!