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Flashcards in Alsace Deck (39):

What are the two départements of Alsace?

Bas-Rhin (north) and Haut-Rhin (south)


Alsace is France's smallest wine region.  

True, Alsace is the smallest wine region in France.


France's wine region with the driest and sunniest climate is:


Rhône Valley




What are the 4 noble grapes of Alsace?

  • Riesling
  • Pinot Gris
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Muscat

These 4 grape varietals are the only ones allowed to go into Grand Cru, VT and SGN wines.


Alsace AOP law mandates that from 2008 forward standard Riesling wines must be ___ in style.


As there are always exceptions to every rule, some producers continue to make Rieslings that display residual sugar.


What does Edelzwicker mean?

Edelzwicker means "noble mixture."

It's usually an inexpensive blended white, but it can be bottled as a monovarietal.


Edelzwickers do or do not need to be vintage-dated?

Edelzwickers do not need to be vintage-dated.


What does Gentil indicate on a bottle of Alsatian wine?

Gentil is a superior designation for blends requiring a minimum of 50% noble grapes.


The 51st Grand Cru of Alsace, ___, was added in 2007.





  • What grape is Clos Ste. Hune produced from?
  • In which Grand Cru vineyard is Clos Ste. Hune?
  • Who makes Clos Ste. Hune?  

Clos Ste. Hune is made from Riesling.

Clos Ste. Hune is in the Rosacker Grand Cru vineyard and it is made by F.E. Trimbach.

Because Rosacker does not appear on the label, Clos Ste Hune is not labeled as Grand Cru.


What are 2 designations that can be used by Alsace AOP and Alsace Grand Cru AOP wines?

  1. Vendanges Tardives
  2. Sélection de Grains Nobles



Vendange Tardive (VT)


Vendange Tardive (VT): "Late Harvest"

  • Made only from the four noble varieties;
  • Chaptalization not allowed;
  • Wine may be dry, off-dry, or medium-sweet;
  • VT may be printed on either Alsace AOP or Alsace Grand Cru AOP labels;
  • May or may not show Botrytis.


Sélection de Grains Nobles

Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN): "Selection of Nobly Rotten Grapes"

  • Made only from the four noble varieties;
  • Made only in excellent vintages;
  • Always sweet;
  • Chaptalization not allowed;
  • Must show Botrytis.


The most common pruning system in Alsace is ___ ___.

Double Guyot

Double Guyot is also known as Replacement Cane System.


In Alsace, Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) is normally blocked in all white grapes except for this varietal.


Pinot Blanc 

While Pinot Blanc lacks the edgy precision and aromatic definition of its Alsatian counterparts, its breadth can handle the softening effects of MLF.  

Not all Pinot Blancs in Alsace go through MLF, but when they do their usually-neutral tones can take on more compelling aromas.


What factor contributes to the broad range of wine styles in Alsace?

The geological complexity of the soils is the main contributor to the broad range of styles in Alsace.  

Soils found in Alsace include:

Hillsides - granite, limestone, sandstone, clay, loam, volcanic

Valley floor - alluvial


What is the name of the mountain range on Alsace's western boundary that creates a rainshadow effect?

Vosges Mountains


What is the eastern boundary for Alsace?

The Rhine River, which is the natural boundary with Germany.


In what year did Alsace receive AOP status?


Alsace was the last major French winemaking region to receive AOP status.


All wines in Alsace must be in a flute bottle except for two. What are the exceptions?

Pinot Noir and sparkling wine are the exceptions.


What are the 2 principal appellations for still wines in Alsace?

Alsace AOP

  • nearly 80% of all wine produced in Alsace falls under this AOP;

Alsace Grand Cru AOP

  • Each Grand Cru vineyard in Alsace is its own AOP;
  • An Alsace Grand Cru label will have the name of the vineyard and the grape;
  • To be Alsace Grand Cru the grape must be one of the 4 noble grape varietals (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, or Gewurztraminer).



What is the climate of Alsace?


Alsace is in the rain shadow of the Vosges Mountains.


In which direction do the top vineyards of Alsace face?

The top vineyards of Alsace are on high slopes facing east and southeast.

Alsace is a warm region, so gentler morning sun (vineyards facing east) is better for the grapes than hot afternoon sun (vineyards facing full south which would get sun all day).


The majority of grapes that go into Crémant d'Alsace come from where: top of the slopes, mid-slopes, or plains?

The majority of grapes that go into Crémant d'Alsace come from the alluvial plains, located between the Vosges foothills and the Rhine, rather than the prized hillsides or slopes.


Most of Alsace's Grand Cru vineyards are located in which département?

The majority of Alsace's Grand Cru vineyards are in the Haut-Rhin département.


In Alsace, if a grape name is on the label, what percentage of that grape must be in the bottle?

If the name of a grape is on the label in Alsace, 100% of that grape must be in the bottle.

There is one exception: Pinot Blanc. It is often blended with Auxerrois even though they are different grapes.  Additionally, Auxerrois may carry the title of Pinot Blanc on a label even if it is bottled as 100% Auxerrois.


Generally speaking, are Alsatian Rieslings drier or sweeter than their German counterparts?

Generally, Alsatian Rieslings are drier than German Rieslings.

They are generally richer and fuller in body, and in certain vintages may even show notes of Botrytis.


Name a weather threat to Alsace.

Spring frost

Freezing temperatures can damage and even devastate tender new shoots and buds, which can ultimately lead to crop loss.


Is chaptalization permitted in Alsace?

Yes, chaptalization is permitted in Alsace even though the grapes have no trouble ripening.


What was the first Grand Cru vineyard in Alsace?

Schlossberg was the first Grand Cru vineyard in Alsace (1975).


Which noble grape is the last to ripen in Alsace?




Generally speaking, what are the most common styles of wine made in Alsace?

Predominantly white wines made from aromatic or semi-aromatic grapes in dry, off-dry, and sweet styles.


Because Alsace has such dry conditions with lots of sunshine, what viticultural practices are widely used?

Organic and biodynamic farming/viticulture.


Vines planted on the slopes:

  • Machine or hand harvested?
  • Trained high or low to the ground?

Vines planted on slopes are:

  • Hand harvested;
  • Trained low to the ground to take advantage of heat radiating off the ground.


Vines planted on the alluvial plains:

  • Machine or hand harvested?
  • Planted high or low to the ground?

Vines planted on the alluvial plains:

  • Usually machine harvested;
  • Trained high above the ground to mitigate frost.


Harvest in Alsace usually starts when and ends when?

In typical vintages harvest will start in mid-September and run through November, and sometimes will end in December depending on whether the producer has decided to make VT or SGN.


Which 2 white grape varietals in Alsace have pink skins?

  • Pinot Gris
  • Gewurztraminer


What is the sole black grape allowed to be planted in Alsace?

Pinot Noir


Describe the differences between Muscat and Gewurztraminer.


  • medium alcohol
  • medium body
  • medium acidity
  • grapey and floral


  • high alcohol
  • full body, oily in texture
  • medium to low acidity
  • sweet florals, tropical fruits, baking spice