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This blog site includes news on latest wines, food, events, offers and happenings at artisan & vine. It also includes stories of my wine adventures in and outside the bar, wine facts and wine profiles.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Wednesday wine tasting: the Alsace!

Wednesday is wine tasting day at artisan & vine. Each Wednesday at 8pm we commence enthusing and imbibing along a set wine theme. You can see what I have planned for the coming weeks here.

Tonight we're exploring the Alsace.

A lovely year of my life was spent living in Germany, just south of the Rheingau. It was a fab base for exploring not just the Rhine Valley but also Mosel, and on one particularly long trip, the Alsace.

Alsatian architecture looks a little Germanic. The people often speak French and (mercifully for me) German. The grapes and style of wine making are similar to those you'll find in Germany. The best wines in both Alsace and Germany come from Riesling - we'll be tasting three 100% Riesling wines tonight. Other popular grape varieties offer a delightful balance floral aromas and minerally palates: Sylvaner, Gewurtztraminer, the Three Pinots.

I often hear complaints about Riesling: customers often can't tell how sweet a wine might be before they buy it; a fact particularly true of Alsatian wines with their typically non-descript French labelling (though Alsatian wines do - in contrast to most French wines - list grape varieties on the label! another welcome Germanic influence). I think customers are right to have this complaint and wish I could offer a better solution than: only buy from bars or shops where the salesperson can confidently help you with what you're buying.

We regularly face the same dilemma with natural wine. I come to the same conclusion over and again: better transparency in wine bottle labelling is the only way to help buyers choose beyond Sauvignon Blanc.
Oh, before I sign off for today, I must add that we still have places left at tonight's tasting. It's £20/person to taste 5 wines (including a Grand Cru today!), so please do come along!

Image: Domaine Josmeyer, one of many brilliant biodynamic producers in the Alsace we'll taste tonight.

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